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Posts Tagged ‘Tim Bevan’

The Long Road To An Easy Degree

Posted by sarahnics on October 29, 2008

Every year universities decide who they should give honorary degrees to.

These people are being awarded degrees on the basis of their contribution to the perspective university or public life.

The usual procedure in deciding who gets an honorary degree depends upon the nominations by university lecturers.

The lecturers from the different schools put forward their candidates to the committee, who then decides who is the most deserving.

The committee then approaches the person, confidentially, and they choose whether they want to accept it.

In many circumstances nominees choose to withdraw themselves, for reasons varying from not liking the particular institution to already having to many.

For example, this year’s honouree Shami Chakrabarti already has nine honorary degrees.

Criteria

The criteria for issuing honorary degrees depend upon whether the person is high profile enough and the type of person the university wants to be associated with.

Rob Watson, Westminster’s press officer said “You don’t choose a famous person over a non-famous person, we want a wide range. There are lots of ways to get a degree, but that doesn’t mean that you’re a doctor, just an honorary doctor.”

Issuing these degrees does not cost much money other than paying for the cap and gown, and lunch if they are lucky.

The university use honorary degrees as a way of honouring people who contribute largely to the university.

Honorary Problems

Being issued a degree is not always considered an honour to some people.

London Metropolitan University had to issue an apology to its Chinese students in July this year, for giving the Dalai Lama an honorary degree.

The university drew criticism from Tibetan freedom fighters, who accused the university of pandering to the Chinese government to protect their overseas recruitment plans.

However not all honourees caused such a stir.

Many well known public figures have been awarded honorary degrees, such as prime Minister Gordon Brown, Bob Geldoff and Christopher Bailey head designer for Burberry who was honoured by Westminster’s School of Media Arts.

University Westminster Press Office Christopher Bailey

Sarah Nicholas  (s.nicholas@my.westminster.ac.uk)

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The Long Road To An Easy Degree

Posted by sarahnics on October 29, 2008

While students across the country struggle to cope with tuition fees, work and life, major public figures are being gifted with free honorary degrees.

Among the list of Westminster University honourees are civil liberties activist and broadcaster Shami Chakrabarti CBE and Time Bevan CBE, to name a few.

Is it fair for students to have to pay so much for degrees, when the university hands them out for free.

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