Leeds University's decision to award an honorary degree to home secretary Jack Straw is being formally opposed by the student union there.
A student spokeswoman said the award to a serving politician inferred a level of support and patronage to a political party that was "unacceptable".
The award was also "extremely offensive", she said, to the university's many gay, lesbian and bisexual students who were subject to continuing discrimination as a result of the government's refusal to grant them equality.
The university said the award was a reflection of Mr Straw's personal achievements and not an endorsement of his political stance. Mr Straw is a graduate of Leeds University.