Schlafly's honorary degree draws criticism

May 6, 2008 at 9:26 PM
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ST. LOUIS, May 6 (UPI) -- The decision by Washington University in St. Louis to bestow an honorary degree on conservative Phyllis Schlafly has drawn the ire of some students and faculty.

Opponents of the school's intention to honor Schlafly, a St. Louis native, have organized a group on the Internet social-networking site Facebook, and had more than 1,000 members as of Monday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday.

The students have discussed plans to protest during commencement ceremonies May 16, senior Kevin Hess said.

Hess, a member of the Facebook group, said it is not Schlafly's politics he finds disturbing, but the "unquestionably inflammatory and unfounded" comments she has made.

Schlafly rose to national prominence during the successful campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. She is widely known for her 1964 book "A Choice, Not an Echo," which outlines her opposition to feminism.

Among faculty members opposed to the honorary doctorate is Mary Ann Dzuback, director of the women and gender studies department, who called it "grossly inappropriate" for the university to honor Schlafly, who founded the Eagle Forum.

"She's spent her entire career speaking against women in the workforce and for them remaining in the home," Dzuback said.

Dzuback said she and other faculty members will protest by not participating in commencement ceremonies.

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