The University has announced it will be reviewing the Sultan of Brunei’s honorary degree as an international backlash grows against the country’s anti-LGBT laws. This follows a petition calling on the University to rescind his honorary degree, which has now received over 55,000 signatures.
Earlier in the week the University resisted initial calls and said it would not strip the Sultan of the honour, but a spokesperson has now indicated the institution has changed tack, saying Oxford shared the “international revulsion” that harsh new laws which came into effect this week were greeted with, and that the honorary degree of civil law by diploma to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in 1993 would be “reconsidered”.
One of the laws in question punished gay sex by stoning in the small south-east Asian country.
The initial lack of a response from the University was met with outrage from the student’s union, which said: “We want to create a safe and inclusive society for all and the people who receive this type of honour should be held to a high standard. If they fail to meet that, as in this case, they should be stripped of their honour.”
The Oxford spokesperson stressed that no one had the right to “summarily” rescind the sultan’s degree, but added: “The decision to confer this degree 26 years ago was recommended by a committee and approved by council and by congregation at the time. We will reconsider this decision through our established process in light of the information now available, as other British universities are doing.”
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