UMass Rescinds Honorary Degree Awarded 22 Years Ago to Robert Mugabe

The board of trustees of the University of Massachusetts has voted unanimously to rescind an honorary degree bestowed in 1986 on Zimbabwe president Robert G. Mugabe. At the time the award was given, Mugabe was considered a fresh face on the African political scene and a powerful force against the apartheid regime in neighboring South Africa.

Now Mugabe has become an international pariah. His administration has been accused of widespread corruption and ineptitude in managing the country’s economy. He has made homosexuality a crime punishable by 15 years in prison. Mugabe has been accused of Mafia-like strong-arm practices to keep his hold on power.

President of the University of Massachusetts Jack E. Wilson stated, “In the two decades that have passed since the honorary degree was awarded, Robert Mugabe has pursued policies and taken actions that are antithetical to the values and beliefs of the University of Massachusetts.”

This is the first time in its history that the University of Massachusetts has rescinded an honorary degree.