Former President George H. W. Bush’s honorary degrees should be revoked because of his recent admissions of what should be construed as sexual harassment and groping. Eight different individuals have made sexual harassment and groping allegations against Bush.
“He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo, he asked the group, ‘Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?’” Jordana Grolnick said. “As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, ‘David Cop-a-Feel!’”
One of the alleged groping incidents was while Bush was the president. Another alleged groping incident involved a 16-year-old teenager.
In response to the allegations, Bush’s spokesperson said, “To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke—and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”
Only a really despicable individual would engage in such sordid behavior and then have the audacity to say it was “to try to put people at ease” and “intended to be a good-natured manner.” How can inappropriately touching someone put a person at ease or be in a good-natured manner?
Entertainer Bill Cosby is getting honorary degrees revoked after numerous allegations of sexual assault and admitting during a sworn deposition that he obtained drugs for drugging women.
A person should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, but Bush has admitted to enough of the allegations to be considered to have engaged in sexual harassment and groping. Earned degrees shouldn’t be revoked unless a person is found to have cheated to obtain a degree, but honorary degrees are awards that should be revoked in disgraceful circumstances like these.
Bush has received honorary degrees from Harvard University, Yale University, Texas A&M University, University of Toronto, Sacred Heart University, Dartmouth College, and National Intelligence University. I emailed these universities with the arguments in this article to try to persuade them to revoke Bush’s honorary degrees. Harvard University referred the matter to their advisory committee on honorary degrees. University of Toronto referred the case to their governing council. The other universities didn’t bother responding.
If universities revoke Bush’s honorary degrees, this would send an important message to students, staff, and faculty that sexual harassment and groping will not be tolerated.
Ashu M. G. Solo is an interdisciplinary researcher and developer, electrical engineer, computer engineer, intelligent systems engineer, political and public policy engineer, mathematician, political writer, entrepreneur, former infantry officer, and progressive activist. He has over 800 reviewed publications.