Who Needs a Stinkin’ Honorary Degree Anyway?

by James A. Bacon

Governor Glenn Youngkin is scheduled to speak at the College of William & Mary’s Charter Day ceremony in three days, when he will receive an honorary degree. Taking umbrage at his stance against Critical Race Theory in public schools, three law school students have started a campaign, “No Degrees for Bigotry.” As of this morning, the petition had 1,341 signatures.

“Students from historically-marginalized groups cannot feel respected or included when the administration consistently awards honorary degrees to individuals who seek to further their oppression,” writes petition organizer Sophia Kingsley in the petition.

Clearly, there is widespread distaste at W&M for Youngkin. And not without reason. The law school students are correct in saying that the Governor’s policies are antithetical to the values of W&M, which under President Katherine Rowe has been enthusiastically translating Critical Race Theory into practice. “What are we saying if that’s who we want to give an honorary degree to?” asks co-organizer Skye McCollum, according to the student newspaper, Flat Hat News.

A fair question. Youngkin might ask the same: Why would he want to accept an honorary degree from a university that embraces values antithetical to his values and to those who voted for him?

Why would Youngkin wish to put the stamp of gubernatorial approval on an institution where (in the business school at least) it is now standard in job interviews to ask applicants how they foresee incorporating Diversity, Equity & Inclusion practices into their work… where anyone who disagrees with the social prescriptions of oh-so-enlightened law school students is deemed a “bigot” and an “oppressor”?

I’ll have more to say about W&M’s DEI policies in an upcoming post. The W&M speech is an opportunity for Youngkin to give public universities in Virginia a hard come-to-Jesus reckoning with reality. In the meantime, he needs to stop playing nicey-face with higher-ed leaders who have gone far beyond anything contemplated in Virginia public schools to impose CRT-inspired orthodoxy. 

W&M parents are sick and tired (or should be) of paying the highest tuition of any public university in Virginia to have their kids immersed in leftist dogma. Alumni are sick and tired (or should be) of emptying their pockets for the Woke who think of them as racists, bigots and oppressors. Taxpayers are sick and tired of subsidizing W&M and other wokeness factories that take their money and then spit on them. 

Who gives a rip if it’s the 329th anniversary of W&M’s founding? Youngkin needs to drop a truth bomb. W&M and other public universities have thoroughly alienated the people who pay the bills.

If anyone wants to start a counter-petition — asking Youngkin to spurn the honorary degree — count on Bacon’s Rebellion to help publicize it.

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20 responses to “Who Needs a Stinkin’ Honorary Degree Anyway?”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    Pretty obvious that many Conservatives including JAB have no interest in Youngkin leading for all Virginians and looking for middle ground.

    Nope. And more playing with words: ” W&M parents are sick and tired (or should be) ”

    but as Dick pointed out, the facts are otherwise and that may well be so when it comes to how many in Virginia feel about DEI. Yes we know how Conservatives feel about it yes, they have had some success in claiming DEI is critical race theory but I suspect a solid majority of Virginians know the truth and soon or later, the gig will be up for those making the false claims.

    NoVa is now such a diverse area that whites are a minority and those diverse populations well know the difference between CRT and DEI.

    Youngkin will have to decide who he wants to lead more than just Conservatives and how many more Colleges he will consider “leftists”.

    Clearly his supporters have hostility – Is that how Youngkin wants to portray himself?

  2. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    It seems to me that, instead of focusing on a petition signed by a decidedly minority of students, you should be congratulating the College administration for inviting Governor Youngkin to speak at Charter Day (which is a big deal). That invitation should be some evidence of its openness to a variety of views.

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      If they don’t cave… 🙂

      Can’t anybody in the ether sign one of these petitions? How do we know those are actually students or faculty or alums? Jim’s rants about UVA are legitimately his business. He has a network feeding him on VMI (and it has been under severe assault.) I think his effort to whip up a similar frenzy over “The Only College in America Named for Two Queens” is likely to fizzle. Plenty leftist when I was there. 🙂 Still reeks of a white privilege bastion just like it always was! The faculty may be more homogenized than 40 years ago I guess (Ludwell Johnson long gone…)

      My wife took his Civil War class and the man went two semesters without mentioning Abraham Lincoln’s name. Now THAT’s what I call unreconstructed.

      1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        I did not take Johnson’s well-known class. By the time I got to college, I was tired of hearing about the Civil War. Instead, I took a couple of courses under Ed Crapol, who had just joined the faculty. His theme was that the United States was an imperialist power. Now, that was eye-opening!

        1. Stephen Haner Avatar
          Stephen Haner

          No other way to describe the Spanish American War and its aftermath, and nobody was prouder of that imperialism phase than Theodore Roosevelt.

      2. John Harvie Avatar
        John Harvie

        My most interesting (and maybe most fun class ever) was Ms. Calkins’ first year of Calculus. She went around the blackboard (am I allowed to say that?) with chalk in her right hand, writing furiously and with an eraser in her left hand erasing as she went.

        You’d better take notes quickly or be left behind. Fascinating subject. Great professor.

        Funniest thing was when Prof. Hagawout (sp?) broke out of French to admonish me for replying “oui oui” in anwering a question. Broke up the class when in English she said, “Only one oui, please”. Without batting an eye she returned to her native tongue.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    It’s an invite from the College itself , no? So why focus on the views of some students and basically blow the whole thing up?

    Ya’ll are … in the vernacular – looking for trouble these days – any perceived slight and war is declared. This is how Conservatives want to govern?

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Y’all? Seems like mainly Jim.

  4. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    I studied history at W&M, primarily under Ludwell Johnson and Richard Sherman, two very different approaches. I was not a stellar student, but I was awarded the Morton History Scholarship in my senior year.

    The College just removed Morton’s name from a building that opened when I was a sophomore.

    That was the last “woke” straw for me. I will not contribute another dollar to W&M.

    1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      Richard Sherman was a good teacher and his courses were not easy. You had to have been a good student to receive a history scholarship if he were one of your teachers.

      As for renaming buildings, regardless of its merits, it is sort of a shame that there will no longer be a Taliaferro Hall. It was fun hearing freshmen try to figure out how to pronounce it.

      As for Richard Morton, here is one take by an alumnus on why he should not be honored with a building named after him. (Disclosure: The author is my cousin.) https://www.dailypress.com/virginiagazette/opinion/va-vg-ed-oped-wm-morton-0711-20200710-ffrqvmt5ozddzgrjf6k6m6n7oi-story.html

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        “…Taliaferro Hall. It was fun hearing freshmen try to figure out how to pronounce it.”

        Lol – truth!!

      2. I did not go to W&M, but as far as I know Taliaferro rhymes with “Oliver”. Am I wrong?

      3. John Harvie Avatar
        John Harvie

        What is it now?

        And has my Freshman dorm Tyler been renamed? I was in Chem classes with his grandson, Harrison Tyler.

  5. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    The numbers don’t bear you out when you claim that W&M parents are “sick and tired” of paying its high tuition rates. The College received a record number of applications for the Class 0f 2025 (the current freshmen): about 17,400 for 1,690 spots. That was a 23 percent increase over the prior year.

    https://flathatnews.com/2021/08/24/campus-community-welcomes-class-of-2025/ 64 percent of that class are Virginia residents. That is comparable to previous years.


    As for alumni giving, the College recently announced the completion of a fund drive that raised more than $1 billion. https://www.wm.edu/news/stories/2020/william-marys-1b-for-the-bold-campaign-concludes.php

    1. I did caveat my statement with a parenthesis — “or should be).”

      Of course, W&M parents have no bloody clue about what’s happening there. Very few people do. I’ll have more to say about it soon.

  6. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Well, as honorary degrees go, better W&M than UVa…. come to think of it, any degree.

    But as for Youngkin, now he can stop singing…

    Is that a Patagonia?

  7. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    As a parent of two W&M recent alumni (and two UVA recent alumni, fwiw), I think you should speak for yourself.

  8. Are you becoming one of the “Perpetually Offended”, Mr. Bacon?

  9. DJRippert Avatar

    An honorary degree from William and Mary? Who the hell cares? Youngkin already has an engineering degree from Rice and an MBA from Harvard. Both are vastly better schools than William and Mary.

  10. Merchantseamen Avatar

    Apparently there are no adults in the room. The Admin. are all down in the MacDonald’s ball pit with the rest of the children.

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