Thatcher brickbat

June 14, 1996

Lecturers at Brunel University have condemned the "secrecy" surrounding the decision to award Baroness Thatcher an honorary doctorate.

The Association of University Teachers says it will be calling for more open nomination procedures, possibly involving staff representatives and students.

University senate and council members sparked outrage among staff and students when they decided to award the former prime minister a DUniv. The doctorate will be presented to Baroness Thatcher next month.

Charles Rudd, president of the Brunel AUT, said: "I think the university has been unwise but it is far too late for us to do anything about this. The issue that really interests me is that the consultation is so narrow. It seems to go on behind closed doors."

Mr Rudd intends to raise the matter at the next meeting of the local joint negotiating committee.

The student union has raised a petition against Baroness Thatcher's "highly inappropriate" honorary degree on the grounds that she "did more than any other to make students' lives even harder" and because her high profile may attract outside demonstrators to the awards ceremony.

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