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Feb 13, 2015 11:40 AM EST

Fordham University Faculty Members Want CIA Director John Brennan's Honorary Degree Taken Back


Though Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan has a degree from Fordham University, a group of faculty members still want to rescind the honorary one granted him in 2012.

Brennan was an advisor for the Department of U.S. Homeland Security when he gave the commencement address at Fordham in 2012. Even without his honorary degree, Brennan has a bachelor's from Fordham, as well as a master's from the University of Texas.

According to USA Today College, the faculty members posted their petition online with a goal of 150 signatures, which they have surpassed by 100. The petition cites a report from Reuters that stated Brennan endorsed "enhanced interrogation techniques" during the Bush Administration.

The petitioners called that "a bureaucratic euphemism for acts of torture such as waterboarding, hooding, sleep deprivation, forced stress positions, and other forms of dehumanizing treatment."

Fordham's decision in 2012 to name Brennan the commencement speaker was also met with resistance, but from two students who started a petition on Two years later, seven faculty members formed Fordham Faculty Against Torture (FFAT), USA Today reported.

Glenn Hendler, Fordham's English chair and a FFAT member, said discussions to move toward getting Brennan's honorary degree revoked has only been gaining traction since the 2012 commencement ceremony. He argued it is in direct violation of its Jesuit Catholic foundation.

"By granting this honorary degree, Fordham has implicated itself in the practice and justification of torture-a practice that is in Catholic doctrine and nearly every other religious and ethical system considered an absolute evil in all circumstances," Hendler told USA Today. "I can imagine no way of countering this implication better than revoking the honorary degree and publicly expressing regret that it was ever given.

"The first step in a restorative justice process has to be the acknowledgment that an injustice has taken place.

"Revoking the degree would be an acknowledgment of that injustice."

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