School of the Art Institute from Chicago revoked Kanye West‘s honorary degree. This is the result of the rapper’s offensive remarks about Black and Jewish people. West received the degree in 2015. Taking back the degree is the latest consequence West has faced since making a series of antisemitic statements.
“Ye’s actions do not align with our values” – the School of the Art Institute, Chicago
The artist, now known as Ye, issued numerous threats against Jews. He also denied the Holocaust resulted in the deaths of 6 million people. He also applauded Hitler and said Nazis received unfair condemnation. The institution condemned his action.
“The School of the Art Institute of Chicago condemns and repudiates Kanye West’s (now known as Ye) anti-Black, antisemitic, racist and dangerous statements, particularly those directed at Black and Jewish communities”, a statement released by the school says. “Ye’s actions do not align with SAIC’s mission and values, and we’ve rescinded his honorary degree”.
The 45-year-old star received the honorary degree in appreciation of his services to culture and the arts. Following his contentious acts, a group named Against Hate at SAIC started a Change.org petition. The petition demands the revoking of the award. They also said it would be detrimental to do otherwise.
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Taking back the degree is the latest repercussion of West’s antisemitic rants on social media and in interviews with Fox News, Infowars, and other sites. Also, numerous brands and businesses connected to him severed relations and condemned his public pronouncements. This includes Adidas, the Gap, Balenciaga, Christie’s…
“His behaviour made it clear that rescinding this honour was appropriate” – Elissa Tenny
In a message to the SAIC community, the school’s president, Elissa Tenny, went into more detail about the choice. “While the school grants honorary degrees to individuals based on their contributions to art and culture as of a moment in time, his actions do not align with SAIC’s mission and values”, Tenny wrote.
She also implied she was aware of recent arguments about free speech on college campuses, taking place across the country. “Though we believe in the right to express a diversity of opinions and beliefs, the severity of his behaviour made it clear that rescinding this honour was appropriate”.
She also added that this marks the first time in the school’s 80-year history that a degree has been revoked. In addition to being marked a pariah for his antisemitic comments, Ye is facing financial hardships, least of which may be a lawsuit brought by Miami Art Space Surface Area in October seeking $145,813 in unpaid rent.