University revokes Donald Trump’s honorary degree after ‘Muslim ban’ proposal

Robert Gordon University says Trump has made ‘statements that are wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university’

December 9, 2015
Donald Trump
Source: iStock

A Scottish university has revoked an honorary degree that it bestowed on American presidential candidate Donald Trump after the businessman called for Muslims to be barred from entering the US.

Mr Trump was awarded the degree in 2010 by Robert Gordon University (RGU), in recognition of his business activities in the north east of Scotland.

But he has attracted widespread criticism after calling for Muslims to be banned from entering the US “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”, claiming that many Muslims felt “hatred” towards the US.

The statement came a week after a Muslim couple shot and killed 14 people at a health centre in San Bernardino, California.

On Tuesday afternoon, more than 7,000 people had signed a petition calling for RGU to strip Mr Trump of the honorary degree, arguing that the presidential candidate’s “unrepentant, persistent verbal attacks on various groups of people based on nationality, religion, race and physical abilities” were “a huge detriment to RGU”.

“Hate speech must not have a place in academia, in politics or on the world stage,” the petition text says.

RGU said in response that the honorary degree was being reconsidered, and then, on Wednesday afternoon, the institution released a statement saying that it had been revoked.

A spokesman said: “In 2010 Robert Gordon University awarded an honorary DBA to Mr Donald Trump, in recognition of his achievements as an entrepreneur and businessman.

“In the course of the current US election campaign, Mr Trump has made a number of statements that are wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university. The university has therefore decided to revoke its award of the honorary degree.”

In its previous statement, the university said that business and entrepreneurship were "key areas of focus for the university, and Mr Trump is recognised for these activities (including his investment in the north east of Scotland)”.

It also pointed out that the award had been made before the appointment of RGU’s current principal, Ferdinand von Prondzynski. “He is totally committed to equality of opportunity and to respect for different cultures, values which are an important part of RGU’s ethos," a spokesman said.

The award of the degree to Mr Trump led to a former principal of RGU, David Kennedy, handing back his own honorary doctorate in 2010, The Scotsman reported.

Dr Kennedy had described Mr Trump’s conduct during his campaign to build a golf course near Aberdeen as “deplorable” and said that the businessman was “simply not a suitable person to be given an honorary degree”.

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

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POSTSCRIPT:

Story updated at 9 December 17.30

Reader's comments (1)

The action taken by RGU is not unexpected because the university catapulted from a third rate polytechnic to a university, thanks to patronage from students from the moslem Middle East oil producing countries. Ishmael

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