ASU Prez Backs Down on Obama Degree Controversy
Looks like someone over at Arizona State University has the good sense to avoid an obvious and unnecessary P.R. disaster-in-the-making.
Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State University, tells POLITICO that the school is reconsidering its widely mocked plans not to give President Barack Obama an honorary degree when he speaks at commencement on May 13 and will “honor him in every way possible.”
“There was no intended slight,” Crow said by telephone from his office in Tempe. “We had not yet talked about what honors we might give him as our commencement speaker, and we still have a month to work all that out. We don’t want anyone to think we do not recognize what he has achieved and what he means in America.”
A formal decision has not been made, but it was clear from Crow’s comments that the university is headed in that direction. ASU risked becoming a national punch line if it did not quickly retreat from its policy against conferring honorary degrees on a sitting politician.
Past recipients of ASU honorary degrees included an aloe-vera magnate, the director of “Victor Victoria,” a Chinese official, a Canadian politician, and lots of donors and fundraisers.
Update: Sam Stein reports that ASU, now apparently in full damage-control mode, announced Saturday that it will rename and expand its “most important scholarship program” in honor of President Obama.
TWI is on Twitter. Please follow us here.