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Lehigh University rescinds Trump's honorary degree after Capitol assault

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Lehigh University has rescinded the honorary degree it awarded to President Donald Trump more than 30 years ago. The announcement came two days after the president encouraged a mob of his supporters who stormed the Capitol, and as lawmakers pushed for his ouster. 

"In a special session Thursday of the Executive Committee of the Lehigh University Board of Trustees, the members voted to rescind and revoke the honorary degree granted to Donald J. Trump in 1988," Lehigh, a private university in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, announced in a brief statement Friday. "The full Board of Trustees affirmed the decision today." 

A spokesperson for Lehigh told CBS News that the university has no further comment beyond the statement.  

According to the university's student newspaper, there have been several recent petitions to rescind Mr. Trump's honorary degree, the latest of which was created on November 5. One professor, Dr. Jeremy Littau, tweeted that the Board of Trustees has been facing pressure from faculty, staff, students and alumni to revoke the degree for five years.

While the university did not elaborate on its decision to rescind the honor, President John D. Simon said on Thursday that "we have much work to do" to unify the country. 

"Yesterday we witnessed a violent assault on the foundations of our democracy — the abiding respect for the will of the people exercised in a free election and the peaceful transfer of power," Simon said in a statement after the attack. "I sincerely hope we can turn the sadness and anger that the lawlessness in our nation's capital has evoked into motivation to make our nation ore just. I trust that it will inspire us to redouble our efforts to unite our country and encourage the peaceful pursuit of governance, guided by truth and reason."

The statement received pushback on social media, where students and staff pushed for the degree to be rescinded. 

Mr. Trump's late brother, Frederick Trump Jr., was a graduate of Lehigh. The university invited the president to speak at its commencement in 1988, awarding him the honorary degree. 

On Wednesday, hundreds of Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol, forcing the building into lockdown and delaying the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Countless politicians have condemned the assault as domestic terrorism. Five died as a result of the violence and dozens have been arrested.

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