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Honorary Doctorate Degrees

Disclosure date: 14 May 2013

Reference: FOI2013/040

Request

When you award honorary doctorate degrees especially to persons resident abroad and that individual has a bad HUMAN RIGHT RECORDS/ ABUSERS OF WOMEN AND YOUNG CHILDREN:

1) What procedure and processes you undertake to ascertain the worthiness of that person to obtain such a degree?

2) Kindly send me a copy of your complaints procedure for dealing with a complaint about someone who has a bad HUMAN RIGHT RECORD/ ABUSERS OF WOMEN AND YOUNG CHILDREN: YET YOU gave that person an honorary degree.

Response

1) An overview of the process for awarding honorary degrees, and the criteria that are currently used, can be found at:

http://www.soas.ac.uk/directorate/services/hondegreesfellowships/

When a nomination is received, a second expert opinion is sought about the nomination. The Honorary Degrees & Fellowships Committee considers all of the information prior to making a recommendation to the SOAS Governing Body, which is ultimately responsible for agreeing all honorary awards.

2) The aim of the procedure is to ensure that all awards have been fully considered in advance of the individual being nominated, and SOAS would hope that this would avoid the situation you describe. There is no specific procedure for complaints about those who have been awarded an honorary degree by SOAS, but SOAS would always take seriously any allegations of this kind that were brought to its attention.