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|FORMER PRINCIPAL HANDS BACK HONORARY DEGREE IN TRUMP PROTEST
RGU’s Trump accolade angers academic
The first principal of Robert Gordon University handed back his honorary degree yesterday – to protest against the decision to give Donald Trump a similar accolade.
David Kennedy said he was “appalled” by plans to acknowledge the billionaire businessman and accused RGU of making the gesture to try to secure large donations.
Mr Trump is building the “world’s greatest golf course” at the Menie Estate at Balmedie in Aberdeenshire.
But the £750million project has been opposed by green campaigners and some locals who are refusing to sell their homes to make way for the development.
One of them, David Milne, of Hermit Point, accompanied Mr Kennedy as he made his protest yesterday.
Mr Kennedy received his honorary degree 11 years ago after serving as principal of RGU from 1987 to 1997 and overseeing its elevation to university status.
He walked through RGU’s main entrance at Aberdeen’s Schoolhill yesterday afternoon, carrying his certificate with the words “not wanted” written across it in black ink.
The university will honour New York-based Mr Trump for his entrepreneurship next week.
But Mr Kennedy said there were many more entrepreneurs in the Aberdeen area more worthy of recognition. He added: “Universities up and down the land are all strapped for cash, they're all looking to raise money, and RGU may well be looking for that money from Donald Trump.
“I think the degree has been given in the hope of receiving some money back in return.”
A spokesman for RGU rejected the accusation and added: “The university has already been involved with the Trump Organisation, including our design students producing a tartan for the company.
“Practical projects such as this, where our students engage with a client, are all part of the student experience and we hope that this award will help forge links that will benefit our students.”
Mr Trump will receive an honorary doctorate at a ceremony on October 8.
Earlier this week Mr Kennedy sent a letter to RGU’s acting principal, Professor John Harper, which said: “Honorary degrees are to people who are of some distinction, who are honourable people who have commanded a wide respect because of the service they have given. I don't think Donald Trump fits any of those criteria.”
Prof Harper was not available yesterday afternoon to meet Mr Kennedy so the degree was handed back to one of RGU’s vice-principals.
A spokesman for RGU said: “We are disappointed he has felt the need to return his degree, particularly given his past connections and major contribution to the development of the university.”
Last night, Ryan Maclean president of the Robert Gordon Student Association, said: “I would like to state that there is widespread support among the student body for the conferral of the honorary award to Mr Trump.
“We identify with the reasons for this conferral, and are pleased that the university has chosen to recognise Mr Trump's entrepreneurial spirit and investment in the region.”
|RIDER TELLS OF HER ORDEAL AT HANDS OF TRUMP'S THUGS
DONALD Trump's security team have been accused of intimidation after a horserider was subjected to a "terrifying ordeal" on the tycoon's Aberdeenshire estate.
A complaint has now been lodged with Grampian Police from a woman who claims she was "detained against her will" by six of Mr Trump's security guards while riding on the dunes.
The 28-year-old, who does not wish to be named, claims to have ridden
through the dunes and was heading back to her stables when a jeep came speeding along the beach behind her and forced her to stop.
She said: "A jeep with two security guys came on to the beach and came up after me at high speed with lights flashing.
"They spooked my horse quite badly and I nearly came off.
The woman says she was then held for 45 minutes while security waited for police to arrive.
"I was expecting a police car and then these two Range Rovers pulled up.
"Out stepped about four American security guards and a woman dressed in a suit.
"I was interrogated by the woman and two of the men. They were quite aggressive and accused me of vandalism that took place two weeks ago.
It was a terrifying ordeal."
Raymond Davidson, 65, who runs the stables with partner Shelley Johnstone, said: "I have filed a serious complaint with Grampian Police about the unacceptable behaviour of these Trump employees and trust that action will be taken."
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