Statement on Tuesday’s protest over awarding of honorary degree to Phyllis Schlafly

Washington University, following an honorary degree selection process that has served it well in the past, made a public offer of an honor to Mrs. Schlafly. Many in the University community have called for the University to rescind that offer, stating that Mrs. Schlafly is associated with some views, opinions and statements that are inconsistent with the tolerant and inclusive values of the Washington University community.

The University fully supports the rights of its students and others within its community to have their voices heard on this issue.

In bestowing this degree, the University is not endorsing her views or opinions; rather, it is recognizing an alumna of the University whose life and work have had a broad impact on American life and have sparked widespread debate and controversies that in many cases have helped people better formulate and articulate their own views about the values they hold.

Washington University remains committed to strengthening diversity and inclusiveness and to improving gender balance among its faculty, students and staff.

(For the university’s May 6 statement on the matter, please go to:

(For the Chancellor’s letter to the university community on this matter, please go to: