Jerry, your claim has been proven wrong and I fear we are now entering a ‘game’ where I prove your claims wrong with examples, then you treat the counterexamples as special cases rather than proof that your core belief was wrong - then ‘shift the goalposts’ by pretending you actually claimed/believed something else instead, which would exclude the counterexamples.
That’s a game that can be played forever and it’s completely pointless. If you want to claim that degrees cannot be revoked, ‘put up or shut up’, I want to see legal proof to support your view. Put up, please.
In the meantime I’m going to provide further examples of cases and law that show your claim is totally misfounded.
Your initial claim was this:
“BUT, once graduated, there is no way any school can compel the former student to comply with what they were taught at the school–or with the law.”
I mean the honorary degree example alone is enough to fully prove the point.
You appear to be mistaking 'something that very rarely happens for ‘something that can’t happen at all’ based on your imagination. A degree is not a physical possession; it’s an ongoing recognition by a body. The body can remove that recognition, subject to internal processes and thus generally not subject to law. (though attempts have been made to undo degree revocation using law, it is rarely successful - the n-a-_-i example below being the only one I’m familiar with).
Some more examples:
The n-a-_-is famously revoked the academic degrees of Jews. Not only in Germany. (https://news.uga.edu/polish-university-reinstates-degrees-earned-by-german-jews-in-ni-era/). 260 people affected at this Polish university for 80 years. (That’s how difficult it is to challenge revocation.)
(edit: incredibly, I am not allowed to use the word n-a-_-i with a normal spelling on this forum in a discussion of history. I can’t even post a URL to a university website that contains the word in the url; you’ll need to edit ‘ni’ into the full word.)
Revocation can be for academic misconduct AFTER graduating and unrelated to the degree itself - anything that brings the university’s reputation into disrepute is sufficient.
For example if you graduated from a German university, as many Americans do, you can have your PhD revoked if you commit a crime intentionally that results in 1 year in prison, or willfully misuse your scientific qualification.
Here’s a case in Germany where the matter was subsequently tested in their supreme court as a challenge under the Germany Constitution. The act being punished had taken place after the person had graduated, left Germany and began working in the US for a few years - so post-degree, and in another country. The court upheld that the university has the absolute right to withdraw the degree for damaging the reputation of the university or of science generally.
Another example here, in the USA; a religious US university, the guy posed for a calendar. This revocation occurred after completing all degree requirements and attending graduation.
Another example here - an Malawian women was frustrated that her degree wasn’t helping her find work so she burned it for a social media video. The university responded to their name being brought into disrepute by revoking her bachelors degree.
Here’s an American legal practice’s take on the topic:
“The degree is not simply something paid for and earned once, for the graduate to keep ever after. The degree is instead a continuing certification by the school. Graduates may face scrutiny, sanctions, and serious repercussions years after graduation.”
"Schools have several reasons to revoke degrees, including that degree revocation:
To forestall: ‘But this is AMERICA’
Bill Cosby (50 times!), Trump. You just need to bring shame on the university extremely publicly. Some more examples: Mugabe had an honorary degree revoked from two US universities.
Keep in mind too that honorary degrees are real degrees, and while it is not always the case, many are awarded as recognition of experience or achievement in a field where it is considered equal to a degree and that achievement is accepted in place of statuatory requirements of a degree. For example, an honorary doctoral degree may be awarded on the basis of consideration of a portfolio of the person’s work during their career. (particularly in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand)
To give a well-known example of this: Benjamin Franklin received two honorary doctorates for scientific accomplishments, on from St Andrews and one from Oxford.
These are all facts, and your core belief is wrong. Sorry. It’s just how it is. I really don’t have time to keep playing this game any further; the onus is now upon you to provide proof that none of these examples happened or could have happened.
The reason we don’t see it often isn’t because it can’t be done, but simply because the bar is very high.