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Aberdeen University revokes honorary degree awarded to Sultan of Brunei

Wednesday April 17th 2019 at 11:40 AM

Aberdeen University has confirmed they have revoked the honorary degree awarded to the Sultan of Brunei.

There were calls on the institution to review the award given to one of the richest men in the world, after his country recently introduced radical new anti-LGBT laws, making gay sex and adultery a crime punishable by death by stoning.

Homosexuality is already illegal in the tiny nation, which is on the island of Borneo, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

University Principal George Boyne said: “As I am sure you will be aware there has been an international controversy since the Sultan of Brunei, in his role as Head of State, introduced severely punitive anti-LGBT laws.

“The Sultan was awarded an honorary degree by our University in 1995. It was given at a time when the University had operated a successful exchange programme with its counterpart in Brunei, and when the Sultan had encouraged links between Brunei and Aberdeen due to his interest in our geology and petroleum engineering research.

“In light of recent developments, the University undertook a review of how this award now fits with our values.

Today I can inform you that the honorary degree has been revoked following a vote by Senate, our academic body, which approved a recommendation from our Honorary Degrees Committee.

“Our internal process also included an opportunity for the Sultan to respond to the recommendation. The response from the Sultan was considered by the Senate and the Honorary Degrees Committee.

“While it is deeply regrettable to be in this position, which is unprecedented for the University of Aberdeen, I fully support the decision.

“The University of Aberdeen is proud of our foundational purpose of being open to all and dedicated to the pursuit of truth in the service of others.

“The introduction by the Sultan of the new Penal Code is contrary to our strong commitment to the value of diversity and inclusion.”


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