Trustees of the University of Massachusetts on Thursday passed a resolution that rebuked Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe for what the panel called his “brutal and bloody regime,” though the trustees did not revoke his honorary degree.
The state university, whose main campus is in Amherst, Massachusetts, bestowed an honorary degree on Mr. Mugabe in 1986, in recognition of his "humane revolutionary" actions which the commendation said led to Zimbabwe's 1980 independence.
This week the UMass trustees stopped short of stripping Mr. Mugabe of the degree only because there was no provision in the school's bylaws for such a move.
The academic rebuke came just a few weeks after the University of Edinburgh in Scotland stripped Mr. Mugabe of another honorary degree, citing mass killings that occurred in the Matebeleland region in the early 1980s under his government.
A statement issued by the University of Massachusetts trustees said Mr. Mugabe had "degenerated as a political leader and a human being” through actions leading to the “near disintegration of health, education, and other public services.”
Spokesman Bill Wright of the office of the university's president told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the intention of the trustees was to send a strong message to Mr. Mugabe.