Oxford Student Union raises emergency motion to condemn honour for anti-gay Sultan

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The Student Union at Oxford University has raised an emergency motion to discover the reason why the university has refused to rescind an Honorary Doctorate in Law given to the Sultan of Brunei.

In April the Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah gave approval to Brunei’s revised penal code, which urges death by stoning for same-sex sexual activity.

Speaking to PinkNews, the Oxford University Student Union LGBTQ Officer Daniel Templeton, confirmed that an emergency motion was to be raised to establish why the university will not consider rescinding the honour.

He said: “The decision of the University is regrettable and shows a lack of regard for LGBTQ students. An emergency motion has been brought to the Student Union Council to condemn the University’s refusal to rescind the honour, and to ask the University to clarify the reasons for doing so.”

The Sultan, whose family has governed Brunei for 600 years and whose fortune is estimated at $13 billion (£7.75 billion), received an honorary knighthood from the Queen in 1992 and has been awarded a string of honours by British universities, including an Honorary Doctorate in Law from Oxford.

Responding to PinkNews questions about whether the university would remove the honour yesterday, an Oxford University spokesperson said it would not, and declined to comment further.

Former Conservative Party Chairman Lord Deben, yesterday criticised King’s College London for rejecting calls by the publisher of PinkNews to rescind another Honorary Law Doctorate given to the Sultan in 2011.

PinkNews publisher Benjamin Cohen spoke at a graduation dinner at King’s at the weekend, and called for the honour to be withdrawn.

A King’s spokesperson said the college would not rescind the honour, given that it was awarded before the new law was introduced.

According to sources at King’s, the Student Union there is also preparing to raise a motion with the university.