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Yes, Virginia, honourary degrees can be political:

June 10, 2010

Lifted directly from Academica Top Ten today:

Teacher unions may boycott Nipissing student teachers over honorary degree for Mike Harris: The president of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation says the federation and its affiliates are vehemently opposed to Nipissing University conferring an honorary degree on former Ontario premier Mike Harris, as well as the possibility Nipissing’s new learning library will be named after him. The opposition could include boycotting Nipissing student teachers, the federation’s president warned. In a letter sent last month to Nipissing’s board of governors, the OTF writes that “we cannot predict how teachers may demonstrate their displeasure” should Nipissing award Harris an honorary degree or name the library in his honour. The president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has also written to Nipissing objecting to the honour. He told the North Bay Nugget there is “absolutely, no doubt” the issue of student placements would be considered for discussion if Nipissing follows through. Aboriginal groups have also opposed the honorary degree for Harris. The Nipissing First Nation has withdrawn its financial support of the learning library. North Bay Nugget | Read the letter from OTF (PDF) | Add/Read Comments

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