They’re at it again.
Following last year’s efforts to ban Trump Administration officials from speaking on campus, Harvard University students are now circulating a petition that calls for revoking degrees from Trump supporters and aides who attended the elite Ivy League institution, FOX Business has learned.
The reason cited, according to a copy of the petition reviewed by FOX Business, is that supporters of President Trump were involved in spreading the “disinformation and mistrust” that led to last week’s deadly riot at the United States Capitol Building.
The petition is entitled, “Revoke their Degrees,” and was circulated by four students who attend Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, FOX Business has confirmed. It calls on the university to be “Prepared to take a stand for representative democracy and against violent white supremacy,” by specifically revoking degrees of three Harvard graduates who are supporters of the president: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX).
All were described as “violent actors” who need to be held accountable for their alleged actions, the petition said.
A spokesman for Harvard declined to comment other than to say the university is aware of the petition. McEnany, Cruz and Crenshaw had no immediate comment.
The petition began circulating on Wednesday and is said to be gaining some traction among both current and former students, FOX Business has learned.
“I was surprised how popular this petition is even among mid-career students" one student who says he won't sign on to the effort and spoke on the condition of anonymity because he's afraid of reprisals. “It’s one thing for 22-year-olds to sign onto something radical but another thing for 40-year-olds to buy into it.”
The petition argues that a Harvard degree is “a privilege, not a right” and therefore no one is entitled to keep their degree if they violate certain laws and societal norms. Some supporters of the effort have cited Harvard’s decision in 2010 to revoke a degree from a Russian spy, Andrey Bezrukov, as setting a precedent for revoking degrees from Trump associates.
But legal scholars say any move to revoke a degree would face serious court challenges. They say the Bezrukov example is a poor one because he attended the school using a pseudonym and pleaded guilty to spying on the US.
Meanwhile, none of the people named as targets in the petition are being investigated for inciting last week's unrest. The president, himself, is under investigation for possibly inciting the D.C. riot, but such cases are difficult to prosecute.
“It would be illegal and highly immoral to revoke a degree based on constitutionally protected actions like former students merely supporting the president,” Alan Dershowitz the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law, told FOX Business.
“And the end result would be to jeopardize federal funding" because the university would then become a de facto political institution, Dershowitz, who wrote the 2018 book, "The Case Against Impeaching Trump," added.
In November, FOX Business was first to report that students were circulating a petition to ban Trump aides and supporters from campus speaking engagements or merely walking on campus. The effort dissolved quickly and was not taken up by the University's leadership.
But the latest petition may have more teeth as it comes in the wake of last week’s violent pro-Trump protests that led to five deaths, and widespread outrage over the president's refusal to concede the 2020 election to Joe Biden -- a move that was supported by many Republicans.
Last week, for example, a Harvard Kennedy student named Diego Garcia Blum, once again demanded that Harvard Dean Larry Bacow ban Trump associates from the university. It was co-signed by 300 students, the Harvard Crimson student newspaper reported. Earlier this week, a Harvard Kennedy School professor Ryan Enos wrote a similar letter to Bacow, the Crimson also reported.
On Tuesday, Harvard announced it was removing Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) from The Harvard Institute of Politics Senior Advisory Committee for voting against certifying the 2020 election. Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf said in a statement that Stefanik "has made public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence, and she has made public statements about court actions related to the election that are incorrect… Moreover, these assertions and statements do not reflect policy disagreements but bear on the foundations of the electoral process through which this country’s leaders are chosen.”