For the first time in more than 100 years, the University of Pennsylvania has revoked an honorary degree. Following accusations of sexual misconduct against Steve Wynn, the trustees announced the revocation in addition to plans for removing Wynn's name from "Wynn Commons" and from a scholarship fund.
The message, sent by email and posted on the school's website, explained the decision and announced that an honorary degree for Bill Cosby also will be revoked. University leaders were careful to describe their decision process as well as the delay in revoking Cosby's degree. This is a good example of anticipating and addressing potential criticism.
Judging by comments on Twitter, reactions to the university's decision to take a stand seem to be neutral or positive.
- Did UPenn make the right decision? Why or why not?
- Analyze the message. What principles of business are followed, and how can the message be improved? Consider the audience analysis, organization, tone, and so on.
- How is this an example of courage? What risks does the university face?