NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Degree returned over Donald Trump's RGU award

Degree being returned
Image caption Dr David Kennedy's RGU award was returned to the university

The former principal of an Aberdeen university has handed back an honorary degree in protest at a similar award being given to Donald Trump.

Dr David Kennedy, principal of Robert Gordon University (RGU) between 1987-97, said he was "appalled" at plans to honour the US tycoon next month.

Mr Trump's plans to build the "world's greatest golf course" in Aberdeenshire have proven divisive in the north east.

Dr Kennedy returned the honorary doctorate which he received in 1999.

He described the decision to give Mr Trump an honorary doctorate as "an insult to decent people everywhere".

Dr Kennedy said: "Mr Trump is simply not a suitable person to be given an honorary degree and he should not be held up as an example of how to conduct business.

"Mr Trump's behaviour in north-east Scotland has been deplorable from the first, particularly in how he has treated his neighbours."

The academic, who is also a member of the Tripping up Trump protest group, added: "The university needs to realise how strongly people feel about this issue.

"I can think of no better way to express my anger at the decision to honour Mr Trump than to return my own honorary doctorate to the university.

"I would not want to hold the award after Mr Trump has received his."

'Past connections'

Robert Gordon University is due to present Mr Trump with the honorary award of Doctor of Business Administration on 8 October.

The university said the honour recognised his "business acumen" and his company's commitment to the north east of Scotland.

The Trump Organisation had said it was a "tremendous honour" for Mr Trump.

A spokesperson for Mr Trump said they would not be making a statement on Dr Kennedy's decision, saying it was a matter for RGU.

Image caption Mr Trump has divided opinion after vowing to build the "world's greatest golf course" at Menie

A spokesman for RGU said: "We're disappointed that Dr Kennedy feels compelled to return his degree, particularly given his past connections and major contribution to the development of the university."

Work on Mr Trump's controversial golf course got under way earlier this year.

The billionaire believes the total cost of the project is likely to be about £750m.

However, some residents object to the plans and are refusing to sell their land to the billionaire.

Many opponents of the development have bought a stake in a one-acre stretch of land at the heart of the resort site in a bid to disrupt it.

As well as a championship golf course, the luxury development on the Menie Estate includes a 450-bedroom hotel, 950 holiday apartments and 500 residential homes.

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