School of the Art Institute rescinds Ye’s honorary degree

“Ye’s actions do not align with SAIC’s mission and values,” school officials said.

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Ye, formerly known at Kanye West, received an honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. On Thursday, the school announced it had rescinded the degree.AP file

Michael Wyke/AP file

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago on Thursday announced it had rescinded an honorary doctorate it awarded the artist Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.

“The School of the Art Institute of Chicago condemns and repudiates Kanye West’s (now known as Ye) anti-Black, antisemitic, racist, and dangerous statements, particularly those directed at Black and Jewish communities. Ye’s actions do not align with SAIC’s mission and values, and we’ve rescinded his honorary degree,” SAIC officials said in a statement.

The school’s move comes a week after a group from the SAIC community formed an online petition on change.org that pointed to Ye’s hate speech in recent weeks and called on SAIC President Elissa Tenny to immediately rescind the honorary degree.

“We informed the SAIC community this morning,” a school spokeswoman told the Sun-Times Thursday.

The spokeswoman for SAIC didn’t immediately respond to a message asking if Ye had responded to the revocation of the degree.

The SAIC awarded Ye an honorary doctorate in 2015.

The honorary degree “bestows the legitimacy and luster of the School on a figure who has in recent months made repeated public statements expressing and justifying antisemitism [sic],” the online petition states.

“Regardless of his contributions prior to receipt of this award, it is harmful to allow Ye, as he is presently known, to continue to use the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to help legitimize hatred and violence.”

The online petition had collected 4,130 signatures as of Thursday morning.

Ye attended the American Academy of Art and Chicago State University for brief periods. He dropped out of school at age 20 to pursue his music career.


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