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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009
ASU and Obama

Hey ASU, just give the President an honorary degree. After all you gave some government minister from China one, why not President Obama?

There seems to be alot of confusion about the purported decision to not award an honorary degree. Was it because he was a sitting politician and ASU has a policy that prohibits such awards? Was it was because he hadn't yet completed his "body of work"? Was it just a bureaucratic snafu with the commencement people and the honorary degree people not on thee same page?

Okay here's some thoughts....

First, if you invite the President to give the commencement address and the commencement speaker usually gets an honorary degree, then not giving him one is insulting. Best to not have him speak in such role at all rather than snubbing our nation's head of state.

Second, honorary degrees are a racket ginned up by universities in order to derive some sort of implied pro quid pro or to bask in the reflected glory of the person. Like Hall of Fame elections, better to keep such moments too rare rather than too plentiful, I mean better that than say giving a degree to Robert Mugabe. ASU pursued the President for commencement speaker because it would derive benefit; my guess the President accepted because he's going to get his own political benefit from the trip, probably pitch immigration reform. I seriously doubt he came to visit Sparky the Sun Devil.

Third, take your pick whether he's not getting a degree because of his "body of work" or is it because he's a sitting politician but now would be a nice time to make an exception. In fact, it seems that there will be a reversal giving the perception that ASU is getting its arm twisted.

To top it, ASU will rename one of its major scholarship programs after the President because... why? He has no ties to the state or the university, in fact for all I can figure next month's speech will mark the first time he's been on campus. He also has no tie direct tie to the scholarship program or has no active yet initiative for higher education. So by all means let's start renaming things after him... how about Wells Fargo Arena?

Yep thanks to ASU what should have been a moment of pride for the state has instead turned into a farcical show of backpedaling, bungling, and kowtowing.

My predictions:

1) ASU will end up giving Obama a degree

2) In addition to the degree and the scholarship program, I expect ASU will also provide some sort of other trinkets.

3) ASU will throw some people under the bus , think of ASU Media Director Sharon Keeler as a burnt sacrifice of atonement.