Reporter 431, 15 February 1999
Helen Aspell Leeds
Re: Honorary degrees for famous four (Reporter 429). The Student Union would like to make it clear that we formally oppose the awarding of an honorary degree to the Right Honourable Jack Straw MP.
Firstly we believe that to award a degree to a serving politician infers a level of support and patronage to a political party that is unacceptable from an educational institution.
Secondly, the Immigration and Asylum Act that the Home Secretary has introduced to Parliament - as part of his distinguished achievements in political life - is considered by race equality organisations not only to be racist but fundamentally detrimental to race relations within Britain.
Thirdly, the refusal of the Government to introduce a bill that would grant equality to lesbian, gay and bisexual people, who presumably are also stakeholders in Labour's Britain, is consigning many people to continued discrimination.
For a University who has many lesbian, gay and bisexual students and staff we believe this award is extremely insensitive.
We had hoped that Leeds University would not be so blind to the implications of awarding an honorary degree to the Right Honourable Jack Straw MP - obviously we were mistaken.
World poverty, ethnic cleansing, global warming and Irish troubles; these are but a few of the problems that we see on a daily basis.
Yet we have people in your letters column complaining that when walking across the Chancellors Court they have to clean their shoes because of the dust from the gravel and another complaining about the purple zone car park road surface, etc, etc.
I think these individuals are very fortunate, if this is what they have to worry about. I am aware the Reporter is for local issues, but surely the efforts and resources of the Reporter could be put to better and greater issues.
(Name and department withheld by request)
Leeds University Staff Cricket Club is holding winter nets in the University Sports Centre main hall between 6-7 every Thursday until March 18.
University employees and postgraduate students of all ages and abilities are welcome to attend. For further details please contact Martin Hamilton (x4090), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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