Court flexes muscle over Dr Arnie

July 14, 2006

An Austrian court has ordered the country's first private university to revoke an honorary degree it awarded to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Imadec University in Vienna gave the honorary doctorate of business administration to the former actor in a special ceremony in October 2001, citing his lifetime work, in particular with children in US ghettos, and his services to the Austrian economy.

At the time, Christian Joksch, president of Imadec - Austria's first private university, which focuses on economic studies and law - said: "He is a living example of what a person starting from nothing can achieve."

But, almost five years on, Vienna's administrative tribunal ruled not only that the university was not in a position to award honorary degrees, as it could give titles only to people who had studied there, but also that it could also confer the degrees of executive MBA, international MLE and LLM (master of laws) only.

The court described the university's actions as a "breach of administration" and fined it an undisclosed amount.

But Mr Joksch said they would appeal against the decision as the degree was conferred before 2003, when reforms to higher education laws were introduced that prevented the private institute from awarding honorary degrees.

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