More than a thousand alumni and faculty of St. Lawrence University are calling for Republican Sen. Susan Collins to be stripped of her honorary degree after voting to confirm Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Two letters were sent to the university’s President William Fox last week, but the signatories grew to include more than 1,800 alumni and dozens of faculty by Tuesday.
CBS News first reported on the petitions.
“St. Lawrence students, faculty, and alumni have long fought to hear victims of sexual assault on our own campus,” the alumni letter read. “We feel that Sen. Collins’ support of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court is not in line with the core values of St. Lawrence University and the commitments of its faculty, students, and staff.”
The Maine senator received the degree from her own alma mater in 2017 for opposing the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Faculty and alumni now argue that her vote for Justice Kavanaugh undermined her commitment to university’s values.
The faculty highlighted the skepticism Ms. Collins’ expressed about Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Justice Kavanaugh of sexual assault. They argued that in doing so, she did not “carefully weigh all the available evidence” and tainted the Supreme Court with more politicization.
The faculty letter also stressed that Ms. Collins “has been a loyal and exemplary Laurentian,” but argued revoking her degree tackles a larger issue.
“It communicates that we find the dismantling of rape culture more important than saving face or avoiding critique that has the potential to threaten relationships with people who wield considerable power,” the letter read.
Ms. Collins was one of the last remaining swing votes holding out on then-Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. Her “yes” vote essentially confirmed that President Trump’s nominee would be voted onto the Supreme Court.
Her decision sparked anger and protests from those opposed to Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Democrats warned she would lose her seat in Maine over the vote, and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice announced she would challenge the Republican senator.
The backlash against Ms. Collins is not just political. The Associated Press reported on Monday that a hazmat team was called to her home in Maine after a suspicious letter was delivered.
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