1st February 2012 11:47 pm
“The University of St Andrews Students' Association has called on the University to revoke the honorary degree given to shamed banker Fred Goodwin. This follows the decision of the Forfeiture Committee, confirmed by the Queen, to strip Goodwin of his knighthood for bringing the honours system into disrepute.
The highly unusual move follows huge public criticism of Goodwin’s role as the chief decision-maker at RBS at a time when it embarked on its disastrous takeover of ABN-AMRO; this played a significant role in plunging the UK’s banking sector into crisis.
President Patrick O’Hare said:
“The Students’ Association is calling upon the University to revoke the honorary degree granted to disgraced banker and former head of RBS Fred Goodwin.
‘Fred the Shred’ has, over the course of the banking crisis, become a symbol for the arrogance, misjudgement and greed which has become endemic within our banking system. To defend the award given to this dishonourable rogue devalues our system of honorary degrees and is insulting to those honorary graduates such as Sir David Attenborough and Sir Peter Lampl who have gained one through their contributions to society. If the Queen and the Forfeiture Committee can take the extraordinary measure of revoking his knighthood, then it seems fairly obvious that the University can do the same with his honorary degree.
Although Fred Goodwin is of course not solely responsible for the banking crisis, his awards were made for ‘services to banking’, a statement which now has no foundation. It is the £45.5 million taxpayer bailout of RBS, not public spending on essential services, which has helped to auger in the age of austerity and unprecedented job losses. Universities should be moral and ethical leaders in society, and keeping in place an honorary degree for someone like Fred Goodwin runs contrary to the values of the University of St Andrews.”