St Andrews University called upon to ‘shred’ Fred’s honorary degree

ST ANDREWS students have called for disgraced banker Fred Goodwin, who was publicly stripped of his knighthood earlier this week, to have his honorary degree revoked.

His knighthood was “cancelled and anulled” by the Queen on the advice of the Honours and Forfeiture Committee at Westminster after intense pressure on the government.

However, he will be allowed to retain the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws conferred by St Andrews University several years ago - at least for the present.

The Students’ Association has called on the university to revoke the degree following huge public criticism of Goodwin’s role as the chief decision-maker at RBS at a time when it embarked on its takeover of ABN-AMRO - which played a significant role in plunging the UK’s banking sector into crisis.

Association President Patrick O’Hare told the Citizen: ‘‘Fred ‘the Shred’ has, over the course of the banking crisis, become a symbol for the arrogance, misjudgement and greed which many people feel has become endemic within our banking system.

‘‘To defend the award 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.

‘‘Fred Goodwin, of course, is not solely responsible for the banking crisis although his awards were made for ‘services to banking’ - a statement which now has no foundation.

‘‘We believe that keeping in place an honorary degree for someone like Fred Goodwin runs contrary to the values of the University of St Andrews.”

A spokesperson for the university said: ”Fred Goodwin was given an honorary degree in good faith by the university in 2004, shortly after he had been knighted and in the same year that Forbes Magazine had made him Businessman of the Year and Scotland on Sunday declared him Number One Scot.

“Clearly, a great deal has changed since that time.

‘‘The university is very sensitive to the varied opinions expressed about Mr Goodwin’s part in the collapse of RBS and its damaging effects on the economy and the lives of many thousands of people.

“Revoking the degree, however, cannot change history, nor ameliorate the harm done by the banking collapse, for which many people and institutions, not just one man, are responsible.

“In these circumstances, the university will not be pressured into making the precipitate gesture of revoking Mr Goodwin’s degree.”