How The Barack Obama Honorary Degree Fiasco Could Have Been Avoided

I have yet to mention this on the site, but since it a slow weekend for ASU sports, I find it pertinent to bring up the most important ASU-related story of the month, an issue that is partisan and requires a bit of tact (yet will not receive any in this space).

Last week, the university announced that it would not be awarding Barack Obama an honorary degree when he speaks at the spring 2009 commencement on May 13th in Sun Devil Stadium, despite the huge buzz in town about his imminent arrival in Tempe.

When I read this, I was baffled and awestruck. My graduating class is receiving their commencement speech from the current president of the United States of America. Not only that, but he is the first black president in the history of our great country.

His accomplishments are unrivaled, and whether you are republican or democrat, hearing him speak will be a huge honor.

Yet, the quote I read angered me immensely.

University spokeswoman Sharon Keeler told The Associated Press on Wednesday that ASU's practice was to give honorary degrees to people who had a body of work and had been in their positions for a long time. "His body of work is yet to come. That's why we're not recognizing him with a degree at the beginning of his presidency," Keeler said.

His body of work is yet to come. He's not good enough to receive an ASU honorary degree? Being elected senator of Illinois isn't good enough? Being elected president of the United States isn't impressive enough?

Do NOT come out and say things that are not based in reality. Obama's accomplishments certainly warrant an honorary degree.

Now, Michael Crow comes out and says that the university does not award degrees to sitting politicans, citing the need for ASU to remain politically androgynous in this "complex state."

This state certainly is complex. We have a sheriff who disregards human rights (and the constitution itself) running amok in Maricopa County.

The feds are after Joe [Arpaio] for real. If you haven't heard yet, feast your eyes on the letter from the Justice Department to Arpaio dated March 10, informing our corrupt top constable that Eric Holder's DOJ will be looking into his operation, investigating, "alleged patterns or practices of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures conducted by the MCSO, and...allegations of national origins discrimination..."

We are a conservative state that is being tested by the influx of "free thinking" liberal youth and the large swath of illegal immigrants coming across the border. Boy, this state is complex.

I don't necessarily believe that the university is obligated by any ethical or moral code to give Barack Obama an honorary degree; that should be a decision made by the university itself.

The university's smug attitude regarding the situation is what angers me. This story should have held a positive connotation, announcing that Obama would be honored with a scholarship program. Frankly, all along the university has acted as though they are right and the backlash is wrong.

Mr. Crow, you are stuck eating crow right now. You are the president of a college that naturally has liberal tendencies. Do not insult your constituents by being smug about the most important man in the world who is honoring your graduates by speaking at the commencement. Your spokespersons didn't give you good PR regarding this momentous issue.

The same week you slap your students with a $1,200 "surcharge" for "economic recovery," you slap them again by insulting their prevailing political views.

While I am on that subject, what kind of phrase is "economic recovery surcharge"? It certainly isn't any kind of economic recovery for the students. Raising tuition, slapping on extra charges while continuing to muddle down the student base by accepting every single applicant: welcome to the New American University.

Go sit in a class, Mr. Crow. See how many kids are surfing the internet on their laptops, reading Facebook or texting on their phones. See how many of them are 20 minutes late to class, Starbucks latte in hand. See how the teachers have no control over a seminar hall's behavior. Thank you for allowing this kind of abomination to build itself.

Give Barack Obama the honors he deserves as our president, and our nation's leader in the midst of an economic crisis.

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