On Friday, the School of Hotel Administration rescinded a 2017 award honoring Steve Wynn, a gambling industry mogul and the former finance-chair for the Republican National Committee after he was accused of sexual misconduct several weeks ago.
According to dozens of accusations collected by The Wall Street Journal, Wynn abused his workplace authority to force unwanted sexual encounters. Wynn denied all allegations, but resigned Tuesday in response to “an avalanche of negative publicity.”
Wynn had previously won the Cornell Hospitality Icon, an award that “honors the lifetime achievements of hospitality and travel industry visionaries for their professional and philanthropic contributions,” according to its website. The hotel school retracted the recognition in light of the allegations on Wynn.
“We have read with dismay the reports of his sexual misconduct, including the high incidence within his organization,” the hotel school relayed in a statement. “We can no longer consider Mr. Wynn to be an exemplary role model for the industry and, more importantly, for our students.”
Wynn had received the Award in May 2017 as a recognition of his part in “reinvigorat[ing] the Las Vegas tourism scene” and “creat[ing] some of the world’s most luxurious rewards,” according to Kate Walsh, hotel school dean and E. M. Statler professor, who was quoted in a now‒deleted statement put out by Cornell.
Hotel school students seem to agree with the decision made.
“I completely agree with the University’s decision to rescind his award. I think it’s really unfortunate that a leader does something like that because so many people are working for his industry and are affected by his actions,” Mauricio Quispe ’19 said.
“He’s obviously been in the wrong for a really long time. It’s an ethical issue,” John Boyden ’20 said. “I feel like rescinding an award is actually in the right.”
Cornell’s retraction of the recognition is part of a larger pattern of Wynn’s fall from grace. Ever since the allegations were made public, Wynn has stepped down from the Republican National Committee leadership.
The University of Pennsylvania has also, for the first time in a century, revoked the honorary degree it bestowed on Wynn. They also removed Wynn’s name from an outdoor plaza area and a scholarship he created.