Students at the University of Denver are protesting the school's decision to honor former President George W. Bush with an award for humanitarian service.
An anti-Bush petition collected at least 1,000 signatures after it was posted on Change.org, The Washington Times reported.
"Former President George W. Bush left behind a legacy of human rights abuses, including the torture of detainees in extra-territorial jails, preemptive war, domestic surveillance programs, and other egregious actions that deleteriously impact the human condition," says the petition posted by Christine Hart, who received a master's degree from the school last year.
Nevertheless, Denver University spokeswoman Kim DeVigil confirmed the school will go ahead with its plans to give Bush the Global Service Award at a September 9 fundraising dinner. The award will mark "his service to our nation, his leadership as 43rd president of the United States, as well as his remarkable work in Africa, both during his presidency an in his post-presidency."
"It's a huge honor for a school to have a presidential visit in itself, and obviously it has huge fundraising potential for the school," Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli told the Times.
"He's been a model ex-president," Ciruli added. "From my point of view, the award is proper and incredibly prestigious for the school. And there will be some controversy, but the part they're focused on is his work in Africa, and for that he's received enormous praise."
Bush has been widely praised for his work on HIV/AIDS and malaria in Africa. During his presidency, he led the effort to contribute more than $5 billion by establishing the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, followed by a drive to combat malaria, the Washington Times reported.
He was also recently commended by former President Jimmy Carter for increasing aid to the African continent by more than 640 percent.
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