Once known as “America’s Mayor,” Rudy Giuliani was seen as a leader. Now, in 2021, his legacy is shadowed by his work as former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney; a role that has been scrutinized due to his lies, involvement with Ukraine and most recently his role in the Jan. 6 pre-insurrection rally that took place in Washington D.C. As a result, Drexel’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law Student Bar Association is calling for the removal of Giuliani’s honorary degree.
The letter, originally sent Jan. 23 to Drexel’s president John Fry and the Board of Trustees, cites Giuliani urging supporters of President Trump to engage in “trial by combat.” Something which Giuliani has since back-peddled, claiming it was a reference to a scene in the TV series “Game of Thrones.”
Aside from the urging to engage in “trial by combat,” the letter also implies that Giuliani’s honorary degree should be revoked due to his attempts to undermine democracy. As a result of Giuliani’s push of voter fraud lies, he is being sued by Dominion as well as other companies.
Since his role in the pre-insurrection rally, Giuliani, who declined to comment, has had other honorary degrees revoked. The New York Bar Association has opened an investigation into Giuliani.
Currently, Drexel University’s administration is looking into the matter involving the removal of Giuliani’s honorary degree. “A decision to rescind an honorary degree is not taken lightly and when these situations infrequently arise, we have a process that we follow,” Drexel University President John Fry said in an email to The Triangle. “The process to study and discuss rescinding Mr. Giuliani’s degree is underway but a decision hasn’t been made.”
Noelia Wiegand, a current 2L student at the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law and a member of the Student Bar Association echoed the letter, believing that it is necessary to revoke Giuliani’s honorary degree.
“It is vital to see a result because this will send a strong message to our community that Mr. Giuliani’s behavior is unacceptable, and the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law is an institution that values integrity,” Wiegand said.
At this time, the Student Bar Association sees that the Drexel University administration is going in the right direction, if the situation were not to go in their favor, they will consider the next steps in the process.
For members of the Student Bar Association, this matter goes beyond a consequence for Giuliani’s involvement in an insurrection and his behavior serving as former-President Trump’s personal attorney, this is about upholding what it means to be an attorney, as well as what Drexel University upholds as their values.
“The purpose of the legal profession is to zealously advocate for the interests of others in the continuous effort for a more just society,” reads the letter. “By allowing Mr. Giuliani to continue with an honorary degree from our institution, we allow our name and our values as a community to be associated with a man, who time and time again, has intentionally and maliciously worked to undermine democracy and our democratic process.”
As law students await the decision from Drexel University’s administration, they hope that the school upholds the integrity and honor that they see as an enduring characteristic of Drexel University.
“I believe it is our responsibility as Americans to safeguard our democracy, and as individuals who pursue higher education, our duty to not be indifferent to actions taken by those who are working against it,” Wiegand said. “As we enter the professional legal field, it is paramount to send a clear message that moral character is important.”