Colin Powell Honorary Degree sign now




President Joel Seligman and Board of Trustees
University of Rochester
Rochester, New York

Dear President Seligman and Trustees:

As faculty, students and staff at the University of Rochester we strongly oppose the award by this institution of an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Colin Powell.

It seems incongruous for the university to have welcomed with much fanfare the Gandhi center for nonviolence this past year, and then to honor Colin Powell, whose falsehoods before the United Nations led to the unnecessary and unjust war in Iraq. According to the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet as of July 2006, some 677,000 innocent Iraqi civilians have died as a result of this illegal and unjust invasion and occupation. Since then the reputable group Iraq Body Count and an independent British polling company, Opinion Research Business, have estimated that more than 1 million Iraqis have died as a result of the US invasion as of September 2007. These are in addition to the approximately 3800 American deaths. Approximately 28,000 American soldiers have been wounded and/or maimed for life. The wounded and displaced in Iraq are uncounted, but number in the millions.

We would be remiss as members of the university community not to voice our opposition to this honor. For an educational institution to award an honorary degree to such a figure contradicts, in our view, many of the very principles fundamental to the institution. We have no illusions that we can stop it from occurring, but we can register our disagreement with the administration and those who have taken it upon themselves to use this as an opportunity to make a political statement with which many of us disagree.

Colin Powell shares major responsibility for the debacle in Iraq. He was also the Secretary of State in an administration that consistently and deceptively linked Iraq with the events of September 11, 2001. For an educational institution to award an honorary degree to such a figure contradicts the very principles of education.

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Latest Signatures

  • 17 December 2015250. Chelsea Aa
    I support this petition
  • 16 December 2015249. Jake Z
    I support this petition
  • 13 December 2015248. Misha C
    As an alumnus I also am against awarding Colin Powell any honorary degrees. He lied to us about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The Powell Doctrine is a good first step, but he was not able to force the administration to abide by it. You cannot toe t
  • 02 December 2015247. Marc B
    I support this petition
  • 14 October 2015246. Kiera T
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  • 08 September 2015243. John Hodges
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  • 13 August 2015242. Sister Jacqulynreichartr
    I respect Colin Powell and I support his appearance here as a speaker. At this juncture in history I am reluctant to support conferring on him an Honorary Degree from the University of Rochester.
  • 13 August 2015241. Laney W
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  • 13 April 2015225. Sabrina A
    NO DEGREE
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Jimmy MccormickBy:
Technology and the InternetIn:
Petition target:
President Seligman, University of Rochester

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