The Arizona Desert Lamp

Schadenfreude by degrees

Posted in Politics by Connor Mendenhall on 14 April 2009

Protip: The stats seen here are 100% true.Pity the poor Sun Devils. After chastising students for selling tickets to Barack Obama’s upcoming commencement address, Arizona State University spokeswoman Sharon Keeler went and embroiled the university in the most asinine media frenzy in recent memory: refusing the President an honorary degree because his “body of work is yet to come.” What happens when you decide a guy who ran the Harvard Law Review might not actually need a fake diploma from a second-tier public school? Take it from the editors of the State Press:

First, ASU students were told we were essentially too dumb to tie our shoes.

Then, we were told that even if we were somehow smart enough to be able to tie our shoes, we might as well keep our heads hanging down out of shame.

When the national news media caught wind of ASU’s “snubbing” President Barack Obama by not planning to give him an honorary degree, the University as a whole came under attack, getting reamed nonstop and, of course, being transformed into the latest news cycle’s carcass. Naturally, the media vultures have been circling ever since, and somehow the students are the ones caught in the middle.

In the fallout, ASU has been labeled in the national media as a school where students go to get “a master’s degree in lawn-mowing.” It has been labeled a second-rate university. It has been labeled a racist party school.

And what has sparked this odious assault on the Sun Devil nation? A decision made by a six-person committee — at a 67,000-student, 12,000-employee university.

The committee determined that it would reinforce the standards set when ASU President Michael Crow’s reign began more than six years ago.

Under these guidelines, the committee has not given an honorary degree to a sitting American politician and, unlike other universities, ASU has stayed the course on the modern notion that an honorary degree ought to be something that is printed and handed out willy-nilly when a school is going through the motions of putting on a major event for a dignitary.

Instead, in a knee-jerk attempt to quell the controversy, ASU president Michael Crow decided to rename its biggest scholarship, which will now be handed out willy-nilly to the “President Barack Obama Scholars.” Let the schadenfreude flow through you, Wildcats. Give in to the dark side.

As a fierce anti-ASU partisan, I hope President Shelton seizes this opportunity to outdo our rivals and make an even greater display of retarded fealty to our President and the teeming hordes that love him. UA’s already scrubbing the Steve Kerr-era saguaro off the floor of McKale Center. Why not make another modification? “Lute and Bobbi Olson and President Barack Obama Court” sure has a nice ring to it.

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4 Responses

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  1. Laura Donovan said, on 14 April 2009 at 4:49 pm

    He definitely doesn’t need an honorary degree from Arizona State. As I said in my column today, he’s been slighted in some way by two out of the three universities he’s speaking at next month. ASU won’t give him an honorary degree, Notre Dame students are furious that a pro-life president is coming to their campus. I don’t even think it was necessary for Michael Crow to rename the scholarship. We have no reason to outdo our rival school, especially after Obama has dismissed the UA on three different occasions.

  2. Jimi Alexander said, on 14 April 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I take issue more with ASU’s initial (and arrogant) explanation that “his body of work is yet to come.” To quote the Pueblo Chieftain:

    “Really? The man has been elected president. That’s about as good as it gets in America. We don’t elect kings or gods, so he’s done just about the best you can do.

    Oh, but it’s OK for the school to confer an honorary degree on Wu Qidi, vice minister of education of the People’s Republic of China, which ASU did.”

    And Laura…don’t you mean “pro-choice president”?

  3. Laura Donovan said, on 14 April 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Yes, I meant pro-choice.

  4. Laura Donovan said, on 14 April 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Yes, Jimi, it’s honorable to be president, but he hasn’t fulfilled all his presidential and career goals yet, so why give him an award just on the basis of his election? He’s 47. He has a long way to go before receiving “life-time achievement” recognition.


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