FACT CHECK: Is Harvard Considering Revoking Degrees from Trump Supporters and Prominent Republicans?

The online petition urges Harvard officials to revoke degrees from prominent Republicans, who supported the riots and claimed voter fraud was involved in the presidential election.

Investigations into the January 6 Capitol riot is still on and hundreds have been arrested. In between all these, a piece of news has been doing the rounds on social media that Harvard University administrators are contemplating a request to revoke the degrees from alumni who are Trump supporters and were involved in spreading misinformation about the 2020 presidential election that led to the deadly riot.

The online petition that is being circulated following the Capitol insurrection urges Harvard officials to revoke degrees from prominent Republicans, who supported the riots and claimed that voter fraud was involved in the 2020 presidential election. Social media users along with several others have since been trying to verify the authenticity of the petition.

Punishing the Republicans

Harvard University Memorial Hall
Harvard University Memorial Hall Wikimedia Commons

Following the Capitol riot, in mid-January an online petition was circulated requesting Harvard University administrators to revoke degrees of alumni, including prominent Republicans, who spread misinformation that voter fraud cost Donald Trump an election win, which incited the riots. The petition includes names like White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, as well as Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Dan Crenshaw from Texas, who have received post-undergraduate degrees from Harvard.

The news spread like wildfire following a report in conservative media outlet TheBlaze, which alleged: "A group of students are demanding Harvard University revoke the degrees earned by Trump allies and aides. A petition by Harvard students insists that the Ivy League institution rescind the diplomas to anyone who supported challenging the 2020 presidential election results."

The online petition in the form of a Google sheet and a statement outlining the request by authors who were students of the Harvard Kennedy School read that the "University pledge not to invite implicated political figures for speaking engagements or teaching positions. This is an important first step, as is Harvard Kennedy School Dean Doug Elmendorf's welcome decision to remove Representative Elise Stefanik (College '06) from the Institute of Politics."

The statement then goes on to request to revoke the degrees of other prominent Republicans.

What's the Truth?

Harvard petition Google sheets

The Google form asks supporters to list their names, email addresses, schools and graduate years and other important details. Social media users since then have been trying to verify the authenticity of the online petition and if Harvard really received such a request.

While it's true that such an online petition is being circulated and many have also filled in the Google form, it is still unclear under what circumstances, the group supposedly created the petition, as well as to what extent they were serious about the requests.

Capitol riots
Trump supporters stormed Capitol on January 6 Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, no one or any group has claimed responsibility for drafting the request and preparing the form. So far no evidence has been found about such a petition being true. Also, there has been no evidence of Harvard administrators receiving or considering any such request of revoking degrees of high-profile Trump aides. Besides, it's still unclear how many people have filled in the form.

According to the school's policies for graduate programs, Harvard can revoke the degrees of alumni only if they find them to have lied during the application process or violated certain rules as a student.

Such cases are reviewed by Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences administrative board and office of student affairs. However, as of now there has been no evidence of such investigations being conducted by the board into the cases of McEnany, Cruz, Crenshaw, or other prominent Republicans.

Related topics : Fake news