According to Dawn Teo over at HUFFINGTON POST, Arizona State University does not think President Obama, one of its 2009 commencement speakers, is worthy of an honorary degree. The university's Media Relations Director Sharon Keeler said the selection process for honorary degrees is conducted on an independent basis and that the selection committee was not convinced the president had the goods to be honored. Keeler said such degrees were "for an achievement of eminence."
Teo was skeptical, considering the President's body of work—including, cough, cough, being president—but went on to describe the committee and selection process:
The ASU Honorary Degree Committee is made up of six members from across the campuses and is chaired by Dr. Laurie Chassin, a psychology professor. Keeler said Obama was not considered by the committee for an honorary degree and may not have even been nominated. According to university procedures, nominations may be submitted by members of the university family (including its 60,000+ students or even alumni) at any time during the academic year.
Not one person out of six university officials even *considered* the sitting POTUS who was also a law prof, author, and community activist? Word? George W. Bush has a stack of 'em. And as Earl Ofari Hutchinson points out, even Kermit the Frog has an honorary degree. Excuse me while I get my Kanye on: Arizona doesn't care about black people (who aren't Shaquille O'Neal or Jack Johnson). Let's not forget that MLK Day dust-up in 1990 (a proposition which John McCain initially opposed, by the by.) If it does care, it is currently allowing its state institution of higher learning to give a completely different impression.
UPDATE: Mike Allen thinks ASU might be reconsidering…