Honour beyond Our Ken?

February 2, 1996

Nottingham Trent University's proposal to award the Chancellor of the Exchequer an honorary degree was under heated discussion this week as the academic board - which has already overwhelmingly rejected the idea - returned to the controversial topic for a second time, writes Alison Utley.

Rumours that the board was coming under pressure to accept the proposal, which commends Kenneth Clarke, MP for Rushcliffe, Notts, for services to education, could not be confirmed.

A university statement said the recommendations would go for final approval to the board of governors at the end of this month. "Naturally the whole process is strictly confidential and in line with normal practice we will not be making any public statement about the awards until the board has reached a final decision and all proposed recipients have indicated they are willing to accept the awards," it said.

Lecturers union Natfhe said the proposal was "wildly ironic" in the light of severe funding cuts announced in the last Budget.

"Perhaps it would be better if Nottingham Trent offered Mr Clarke an economics course; one that established the connection between investment in education and a world-class economy," said Derek Betts, Natfhe's head of policy.

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