Academic institutions have always relied on benefactors and capitalist vested interests to fill their coffers and bestow them with status in the eyes of the great unwashed. The old universities have centuries of experience in the dark arts of spin, clandestine arrangements and the smoothing of waters through the old boys network.
In the case of the honorary degree for Donald Trump at the Robert Gordon University the morsel was not only tasty but it brought together a meeting of egos in the form of Sir Ian Wood and the aforementioned Trump.
Two self-styled entrepreneurial philanthropic throwbacks to an era of unregulated free market capitalism have come together to comfort each other as they attempt to drive through their respective egotistical visions.
The ignorant populace of the north east just can’t see the benevolence in their actions and insist on raising questions regarding the morality of over ruling the democratically expressed views of the public and moving to evict citizens from their homes.
Sir Ian, as the Chancellor of the Robert Gordon University, has decided to honour Trump in a blatant political act of offering two fingers to those questioning whether their respective Union Square and Menie Golf Course projects have any grounding in ethical business practice.
The University’s own Academic Regulations have anticipated the potential for awards being awarded to unsuitable persons through reference to Honorary degrees being conferred on people ‘that represent good role models for the University’s students.’
Academic Regulations [Honorary Awards].
1.1 The following Honorary Doctorate Degrees may be conferred on persons who have achieved distinction in education, industry, business, culture, creative work or public service. Other considerations may include the fact that their achievements have a particular relevance to the University’s Mission, and that they represent good role models for the University’s students.
There has it appears been little interrogation of the personal qualities of Mr Trump and how they can be construed in terms of a suitable role model for students.
In an ironic twist the university has been pursuing staff to clarify as to whether they may have any conflicts of interest in relation to their role in the university, one of the criteria being involvement in activities that could bring the university into disrepute. Staff obviously don’t have to try on this score as the Governors are doing a grand job on their own