Kanye West’s honorary doctorate from Chicago art institute revoked

This is the first time in the 80-year history of Chicago's School of the Art Institute that it has rescinded an honorary doctorate.

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Kanye West’s honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been revoked. The school announced the decision in a statement on Thursday.

The school posted on its official website that West’s doctorate was being rescinded because of his public remarks regarding both the Jewish and the Black communities.

“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,” read the statement. “Ye’s actions do not align with SAIC’s mission and values, and we’ve rescinded his honorary degree.”

Kanye West
Kanye West has lost his honorary doctorate degree from Chicago’s School of the Art Institute amid accusations of hate speech. (Photo by Rachpoot/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

This action follows a campaign to have SAIC revoke the honorary doctorate via a petition on Change.org, according to CNN. Started by a group called Against Hate, the petition stated that West’s harmful rhetoric “impacts the artists, designers and scholars affiliated to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and their values of justice, compassion, and free expression without hatred.”

SAIC President Elissa Tenny posted her own statement on the petition site, calling West’s comments “disgusting and condemnable” and “painful for our entire community.”

Tenny wrote that this was the first time in SAIC’s 80-year history that it has revoked an honorary doctorate. “This was a difficult decision to make, and one that has been deliberated thoroughly,” Tenny wrote.

West received the honorary doctorate from SAIC in 2015 for his artistic and cultural contributions. “I am a pop artist,” West said in his acceptance speech. “My medium is public opinion, and the world is my canvas.”

This is one of the latest incidents in the fallout from West’s recent comments about the Jewish community. His deals with Adidas, Gap and Balenciaga have been terminated and his Twitter account has been suspended. Also, a Chicago mural of him has been painted over.

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