Children return parents' degrees to protest inauguration plans

Amber Athey
Investigative Reporter

  • The children of two Talladega College graduates have decided to return their deceased parents’ Doctoral degrees because of the school marching band’s decision to play at Trump’s inauguration.
  • In a statement on Facebook, the three children asserted that their parents "would be angered and deeply disappointed if they knew of the plans for Talladega College to pay tribute to Donald Trump by participating in his inaugural.”
  • The children of two Talladega College graduates have decided to return their deceased parents’ Doctoral degrees because of the school marching band’s decision to play at Trump’s inauguration.

    Peter, Don, and Viki Rasmussen penned a letter to President Billy C. Hawkins to explain their decision, asserting that their parents would not want the degrees if they knew the marching band would be performing for Donald Trump.

    “We are certain our parents would not want them under the present circumstances.”   

    Mr. and Mrs. Rasmussen both taught at Talladega College, an historically black college, and received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from the school in 2003.

    “Both of our parents have passed away since receiving this cherished recognition from the College,” their children wrote. “But we have no doubt that they would be angered and deeply disappointed if they knew of the plans for Talladega College to pay tribute to Donald Trump by participating in his inaugural.”

    [RELATED: Socialist student groups plan to ‘#OccupyInauguration’]

    “We are certain our parents would not want them under the present circumstances,” the letter declared, calling Trump the “antithesis of all they worked and stood for and of the values they nurtured in their students.”

    The children compared returning the degrees to their mother’s decision to leave Columbia University as an undergrad when she “discovered that Columbia had distinguished itself by being one of the few American universities to curry favor with Hitler’s government by taking part in the 1937 celebration of the 550th anniversary of Heidelberg University in Germany.”

    The marching band has received similar outcry from other students and alumni because some feel agreeing to the performance looks too much like supporting Trump.

    [RELATED: Students, alumni demand marching bands ditch inauguration]

    “I respectfully request that Talladega College Band withdraw from any inaugural events for Donald Trump,” states a petition created by Shirley Ferrill, an alumna. “In view of his behavior and comments I strongly do not want Talladega College to give the appearance of supporting him.”

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @amber_athey





    Amber Athey

    Amber Athey

    Investigative Reporter

    Amber Athey is an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. She graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Government and Economics, and is currently a member of the 2016-2017 Koch Associate Program. 

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