Well, now you've painted me this picture you may very well be surprised that I wholeheartedly get the point and to an extent agree, I still don’t think it's acceptable to remove rank - I personally would ask someone to leave my dojo who wasn't on board with what I do, I'd also ask them to not refer to themselves as my student. I wouldn't think about taking their rank off them even if I'd issued it personally.
The group we're talking about seemed to be open to people to join and not be constrained to practice a specific style and that changed (I believe). At that stage I'd have left too, but I still don’t think I'd expect someone to hand their rank back.
Nobody removed rank. In fact you were the first person to suggest it be officially rescinded. Now, it's probably my fault because elsewhere I said something like "they're technically not 7th dans" well they are and they aren't. From where I'm sitting, they aren't because they haven't been doing sensei's aikido, and I think they themselves would agree with that, yet it's sensei's name on their 7th dan certificates. Does that mean they aren't experienced and worthwhile teachers? It does not. Does that mean they shouldn't advertise themselves as 7th dans, maybe. Which is why I started this thread because I wanted to see what the consensus of opinion on the subject was. I was also trying to pose it in the abstract to avoid specific reference to the people in question because that didn't seem fair.