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Obama Degree: ASU "Blew It" in Not Awarding Degree, Says Official in Leaked E-mail

 

Arizona State University "blew it" by not awarding President Obama an honorary degree, a university marketing official writes in a leaked e-mail.

The political blogger for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson reports today that he received an e-mail, originally sent to someone out-of-state, from Terri Shafer, ASU's vice-president of marketing and strategic communications, in which Shafer explains how the school has learned a lesson.

From Daniel Scarpinato's article:

 

Shafer says in the email, forwarded to the Star, that ASU "blew it" and "learned a big lesson."

"We could have--and probably would have--awarded an honorary degree to the president before this controversy erupted," she writes. "But after it started, we determined it would not be appropriate to offer a degree to President Obama under circumstances in which the offer might not be considered to be genuine or positive.

Here's the money quote from Shafer: "You are right. We blew it. We have learned a big lesson, and we are taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen again in the future."

The rest of Shafer's the email:
"We invited President Obama to speak at our commencement because we are committed to leadership, excellence and diversity. He is the best example we could imagine, as an extraordinarily talented and accomplished individual committed to public service. Although we were hoping to announce the President Barack Obama Scholars program when he comes here on May 13, we are pleased to do so now because it will open the door to college for more than 1,500 students this fall who would not otherwise be able to attend."

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.