A first draft of the requested canonical question is now live here. Please help us out by editing the wiki and adding information.

Can public political criticism of my alma mater result in my BA being revoked 35 years later?

Can we create a question "What are the criteria for degree revocation?" and close all questions with the theme "Will my degree be revoked if...?" as duplicates?

I think this will reduce the time wasted on debating individuals views and behavior which are not relevant to academia, while making good use of the better quality answers.

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    I think that the fact that this question specifies a particular political viewpoint, which has nothing to do with the answer to the question, and the fact that it starts with "Perhaps it is a sign of paranoia that I even ask," indicate that it is not a useful question. Also, it's got an awful lot of downvotes. – Anonymous Physicist Aug 4 '20 at 0:45
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    Indeed, a search shows many posts of the form "Q: will my degree be revoked? A: no". Seems like a good candidate for a community wiki. – cag51 Aug 4 '20 at 3:29
  • Sounds like a good idea. Maybe we can cobble together relevant pieces from the answers in the linked question for a community wiki. Regarding the downvotes, I suppose a good deal are actually expressions of disagreement with the political stance of OP (now edited out of the question). – henning -- reinstate Monica Aug 4 '20 at 11:35
  • The title of this question is not so well chosen. – user111388 Aug 4 '20 at 15:44
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    Note that the original question no longer uses the term "wokeness"; this is a good example of editing the question to avoid irrelevant political debate. – cag51 Aug 4 '20 at 20:15
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    @cag51 Well, you could view it like that. Or you could tilt your head the other way whilst looking at the same original Q and think that the actual question asked has been edited out in favour of a better question (no complaints from me). The real question (revealed and honed by the OP in comments) might appear to be whether these newly "woke" institutions would want or try to exact crazy over-reaction revenge on a public anti-woke dissenter who happened to be an alumna/us. But that depends which way you tilt your head when you look at it. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Aug 5 '20 at 0:22
  • @cag51 NB, the "crazy over-reaction" language coming from the OP, not me. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Aug 5 '20 at 0:39
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    Great find! I think that was the "discussion in the comments" I had vaguely remembered and alluded to in my answer below. I have now closed the old one as a dupe of this one (since this one has answers and the other did not). – cag51 Aug 5 '20 at 22:05

Can we create a question "What are the criteria for degree revocation?" and close all questions with the theme "Will my degree be revoked if...?" as duplicates?

This seems like a good idea to me. As I said in the comments, there are a lot of mostly-identical questions about degree revocation. There was a discussion some time ago about doing this, but nothing came of it. Having a wiki page that covers all the caveats is probably better than covering the basics over and over again in many different posts.

Before moving forward, I am hoping others will comment about the best way to do this (mechanically). One option is to merge several posts so that we retain many of the existing answers. Another option is to create a new wiki with blank subject headings, and ask the community to fill it in (either with new content or by copying content from existing answers).

Update 8 August 2020: This is done.

  • Are you gong to close the other questions? – Anonymous Physicist Aug 29 '20 at 9:31
  • I have no plans to "search and destroy," but in general, I think the less-active historical questions as well as future questions can be closed as duplicates. I'm inclined to leave the highly-active historical questions open. From what I can tell, this is largely aligned with what was done when previous wikis were created. – cag51 Aug 29 '20 at 22:29

I do not think this is a good idea. The new community wiki emphasizes this in its question text:

Each answer here relates to a different criterion which may (or may not) lead to degree revocation.

As I put in a comment on the new community wiki -- I'm actually really concerned that the structure of this community wiki will be misinforming people who ask these sorts of questions. Mostly on these questions the top answer has been "no/we can't say/depends on institution". If people read these answers with an AND conjunction instead of an OR conjunction; or, take them as absolutely-enforced-at-all-institutions, then that will be misinformation. It also doesn't seem able to account for the vast differences in academic cultures around the world (link). There's no room in this wiki structure for the very best answer, "we can't say because it's very locale dependent".

Furthermore: The majority of the questions this is seeking to short-circuit are in the negative direction, i.e., usually about things you pretty much can't have a degree revoked for. Regarding the current question in this vein, the two highest-voted answers currently have kernels of:

Revocations on grounds of expression of (political) disagreement with the issuing institution are unheard of in rule-of-law democracies. I've never heard of such a case, although it would certainly have become very well-known.


I sit on our university's Senate which is the body that would have to deliberate a degree revocation. Even a straight-forward case of plagiarism in a degree requires a long, drawn-out and surprisingly contentious decision, and it might happen once or twice a decade. This is the last step of a very, very long and drawn-out process.

These negative best-answers will be lost in the wiki structure looking for positive criteria for degree revocation. People still won't see an answer to the specific questions they're asking, and will continue to ask them.

I would suggest that a better "canonical" question for this purpose would be of the form, "How likely is it to get a degree revoked?", which can then deal with the central issue of it being extremely rare, in fact, a non-issue in almost all cases.

  • Thanks for your points. I took the title straight from the (highly-upvoted) feature request. That said, changing it to "What are the criteria...? How often does this happen?" is fine with me. To your other concerns: I added an accepted answer (will be accepted as soon as the system allows, there is a mandatory delay) to give a short summary ('this is very rare") and to warn that things vary. Please feel free to edit the wiki - it is easy to criticize, but the community voted for a wiki (twice!), so let us build a good one. – cag51 Aug 8 '20 at 20:20
  • @cag51: I don't want an argument, but currently there's only 4 total votes for the "yes, do this" answer, which is a stretch to call "highly-upvoted". I think the wiki question is inescapably flawed structurally and I'll desist from having my name on any edits there. – Daniel R. Collins Aug 9 '20 at 3:13
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    I was referring to the post itself (the "feature request"), which got 12 upvotes here and 14 the last time it was requested. – cag51 Aug 9 '20 at 3:46

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