PDR VELEZ SAID: This call to revoke Kanye’s honorary degree is racist, shameful and doesn’t represent the reasons why I decided to pursue my MFA degree at The School of the Art Institute. Kanye has impacted culture in more ways than any painter ever will. I couldn’t care less for Patti Smith or corrupt Mayor Daley or a bunch of others who have received honorary degrees in the past. But you never saw me, or anyone else, writing a petition to revoke them. You don’t have to dig his style but at least make an effort to understand the artistry behind it. I have been witness to his influence in schools in the USA and in Puerto Rico. Kanye is an ARTIST and fully deserving.



The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the most respected, internationally recognisable creative organisations in the entire world. Notable alumni include Ray Yoshida, Audrey Niffenegger, David Sedaris and Archibald J. Motley, Jr…And it should, with the price tag to prove it. Whoever said you can’t put a price on creative expression obviously never attended the prestigious institution, where professors revel in the dichotomy that is tearing your work to shreds for its lack of distinction, and then giving you the names of obscure artists to whom you should compare yourself.

Such is [art] life.

But now SAIC wants to award the one and only Yeezy with an honorary doctorate, and given that art school education tends to focus more on spectacle than on art itself, this makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, it also devalues the talent, efforts and thousands of dollars in student loans of infinitely more capable visionaries who actually attended the institute WITHOUT making fools of themselves on national television…repeatedly. Awarding Kanye West an honorary doctorate would mean emboldening and encouraging the self-indulgent narcissism of a child who uses his art to propagate mind-numbing, pop-culture distraction that makes the world a more unbearable place than it already is.

And while art is meant to be transgressive, confrontational and subversive…it must still first be classified as art before it can be any of the latter. Mr. West, who used to inspire thought, conversation and even intelligent conflict has become a symbol of the infinite pitfalls associated with the black hole we call fame, reflecting a cannibalistic social urge to destroy anything that once held value.

Instead of rewarding this with an honorary doctorate, the signers of this petition request that the honour go to someone who is a better reflection of the creative process, one that has not become a parody of itself and does not mock the value that thousands of other alumni hold in their education.

Do not award Kanye West an honorary doctorate.