Kanye West was stripped of his honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago after making controversial remarks about the Jewish and black communities.
In a letter obtained by TMZ on Thursday, SAIC President Elisa Tenny said the rapper “has exhibited disturbing behavior and made dangerous statements that are inconsistent with the values of our society.”
Tenny wrote that West’s “anti-Black, anti-Semitic, and anti-Holocaust statements” were “disgusting and reprehensible” and “painful for our entire community.”
While Tenny reiterated that the private art school — which awarded West an honorary doctorate in 2015 — awards honorary degrees to those who have made significant contributions to “arts and culture” during that time, the actions of this 45-year-old man “do not go with the mission and correspond to the values of SAIC”.
After meeting with the board of trustees, the school decided to annul the Grammy winner’s awarded degree.
“This was a difficult decision that had to be carefully considered,” the SAIC president wrote, adding that it was the first time in the school’s 80-year history that an honorary degree had been revoked.
“While we firmly believe in the right to express a wide range of opinions and beliefs, the harshness of his behavior made it clear that the revocation of that honor was appropriate.”
In recent weeks, SAIC has faced increasing pressure from its students, who have started an online petition calling for West’s credentials to be withdrawn. The group collected over 4,100 signatures.
Since early October, the “All of the Lights” rapper has made headlines with his anti-Semitic outbursts on social media, including a now-deleted tweet saying he was going to “Death con 3” against Jews.
Last week, West paid tribute to Adolf Hitler, arguing he had seen “good things” about the former leader of Nazi Germany.
The Yeezy founder also angered many in the black community by selling them “White Lives Matter” t-shirts and implying that George Floyd died from using fentanyl, not the strength of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who was subsequently convicted of murder always kneeling on Floyd’s floor. neck for more than nine minutes.
Amid continued backlash over his controversial and dangerous remarks, West was dropped by Adidas and Gap, among others.