Then, the Faculty Senate voted it down 38-28.
University officials said they could not recall any precedent for the Senate rejecting the nominees put forth by the Faculty Senate's Honorary Degrees, Distinguished Alumnus Awards and Memorials Committee. The committee determines whether nominees deserve consideration according to standards that include "eminent distinction in scholarship or high distinction in public service."
"The committee endorsed him," Machen said. "It is unheard of that a faculty committee would look at candidates, make recommendations and then (those candidates) be overturned by the Senate."
So the alumni organization stepped in to prevent any further loss of esteem for the university.
The university's Alumni Association's Board of Directors passed a resolution Saturday to make Bush an honorary alumnus. The move came on the heels of a 38-28 Faculty Senate vote on Thursday to deny Bush an honorary degree.
The main difference between the awards is that the degree is given by the university and the alumni association decides who receives honorary alumni status, said Steve Orlando, a University of Florida spokesman. The association extends the honor to a handful of people each year.
It's not an honorary degree, but the official nature of the award spares the university any more embarrassment caused by the faculty senate's injecting partisan politics into what should be a ceremonial nicety.