A Move By Sewanee Faculty Reopens Possibility Of Revoking Charlie Rose’s Honorary Degree | Nashville Public Radio

A Move By Sewanee Faculty Reopens Possibility Of Revoking Charlie Rose’s Honorary Degree

Feb 27, 2018

Sewanee professors want the university to rescind an honorary degree given to veteran journalist Charlie Rose two years ago.

At a faculty senate meeting Monday, the group unanimously approved an "advisory motion" that says they want to see Rose's honors revoked immediately, according to a letter sent by Sewanee's president. That will now be passed along to the school's board of regents for consideration.

The senate also decided to create a process for the "reconsideration of a granted honorary degree." Previously, the school had no process for reviewing honorary degrees that had already been bestowed. 

This is the latest twist in a debate at Sewanee: University of the South over how it should deal with Rose's honors, following allegations of sexual misconduct by eight women late last year. In early February, student trustees asked the board of regents, which governs the Episcopal school, to consider revoking his honorary degree. In their responding letter, they declined to make that change and said Rose should ultimately be forgiven rather than condemned. 

That response drew outrage from students, who protested the decision last week, and opposition from divinity school professors, who took issues with the school's theological reasoning.

More: Sewanee Theology Professors Say Charlie Rose’s Sins Are Bad Enough To Rescind His Honorary Degree

President John McCardell, who co-signed the board's letter, reiterated Tuesday that Sewanee is committed to combating sexual misconduct. He wrote a letter to the university community detailing the faculty senate's decisions but did not reveal whether he had changed his mind about revoking Rose's honors.

"This past week has made us all painfully aware of both our institutional aspirations and the ways in which we still fall short of meeting them. I pledge my own continued involvement and energy in articulating and advancing those aspirations, civilly and respectfully, and those many things we need yet to do to bring us closer to their attainment," he wrote.