'Rangers' rector in battle of honour

October 15, 1999

St Andrews University students are considering awarding their own honour to outgoing rector Donald Findlay QC after the university academic council vetoed the traditional award of an honorary degree.

There had been disquiet among academics over the degree after Mr Findlay was revealed to have led a sectarian singalong, which led to his resignation as vice-chairman of Rangers Football Club.

The university academic council, which acts on behalf of senate, voted against the degree last Friday, despite strong lobbying by students who had nominated him.

University secretary David Corner said the council could not act "like a jury striving for a shared judgment" but was divided on the issue, like any other section of the Scottish population. "Some of the academic council will, therefore, be content with this decision, others will be disappointed."

Steve Durrant, students' association president, said: "We would like to reiterate our sincere thanks to Donald for all the time and energy that he has devoted to assisting students at St Andrews over the past six years. I have no doubt the association will wish to honour his achievements after he demits office this week. We have the scope for our own awards."

Students were set to vote last night for Mr Findlay's successor from five candidates: Tommy Sheridan, MSP, leader of the Scottish Socialist Party; Andrew Neil, editor in chief of The Scotsman Group; Martin Parsmore, a retired schoolteacher; Harvey MacGregor QC, ex-warden of New College, Oxford; and Rycharde Perry, head of the university student voluntary service.

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