Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn Stripped of Honorary Degrees From University of Rhode Island

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn had their honorary degrees from the University of Rhode Island (URI) revoked on Friday.

In a press release, the university stated that its board of trustees had voted to strip the two men of their degrees. The board's decision came following a recommendation from the university's president and its honorary degree committee to take the honors back.

"After reviewing the recommendation from the President, who endorsed the committee's recommendation, the Board voted to approve the revocation of these honorary degrees," URI Board of Trustees chair Margo Cook said in the press release. "The Board of Trustees supports the University and its mission to uphold its values, especially its commitment to intellectual and ethical leadership and fostering an environment of diversity and respect."

URI President Mark Parlange stated that he had made the recommendation after agreeing that Giuliani and Flynn "no longer represent the highest level of our values and standards that were evident when we first bestowed the degree."

University of Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island revoked honorary degrees from Michael Flynn and Rudy Giuliani, two former officials for ex-President Donald Trump, as a result of their legal issues and more. Here, the campus of the university can be seen in a stock photo. iStock/Getty

The removal of their honorary degrees marks another low point in the downfall of two men who were, at one time, celebrated public figures.

Giuliani, a longtime public official, was the mayor of New York City during the September 11 attacks, and was widely praised for his leadership following that day of infamy. As a result of his actions following September 11, URI awarded him an honorary law degree in 2003.

Flynn, a retired three-star lieutenant general in the U.S. Army, was a graduate of URI and previously served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2014 in recognition of his military career.

However, both men have faced legal troubles following entanglements with former President Donald Trump.

Giuliani joined the former president's legal team in 2018, and drew scrutiny for his reported role in the Ukrainian scandal that led to Trump's first impeachment. He also represented the former president in many failed lawsuits in 2020 in an effort to overturn the results of the presidential election.

During these lawsuits, Giuliani was heavily criticized for promoting disproven theories of massive voter fraud across the nation. As a result, he was countersued by a number of parties for promoting these conspiracies, and has his law license suspended in New York state and Washington, D.C.

Flynn served as Trump's national security advisor for the first three weeks of his administration. However, he resigned amid reports of collaboration with Russian and Turkish officials in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Flynn eventually pleaded guilty to a felony count of lying to the FBI, but later withdrew his plea. The Justice Department filed a motion to drop charges against him, and Flynn was eventually pardoned by Trump.

In the aftermath of the 2020 election, Flynn entered the news cycle again following reports that he had similarly worked with Trump to try to get the election overturned. This included a report that Flynn suggested declaring martial law in order to hold a new election, something the former president has denied.

Beyond these histories, URI listed a number of other reasons that it had decided to revoke the two men's degrees.

This included Flynn suggesting "that a military coup was needed in the U.S., much like the one staged by the military in Myanmar in 2021," as well as the fact that he had called for "one religion" in the U.S., which URI called a violation of the First Amendment.

URI also noted that Giuliani had been present during the rally in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, that preceded the attack at the Capitol, stating that his speech "encouraged domestic terrorist behavior."

Newsweek has reached out to Giuliani for comment.