University mulling position after outcry over royal’s failure to apologise for links to sex offender
London Metropolitan University has said it will reconsider Prince Andrew’s position as patron of the university in the wake of his “car crash” BBC interview.
During the BBC’s Newsnight interview on 16 November, Prince Andrew was questioned over his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. He also denied allegations that he had sex with Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, in 2001 when she was 17 years old. The royal said he had taken his daughter to a party at a Pizza Express restaurant in Woking on the night in question.
On 19 November a spokesman for London Metropolitan University said it would be reviewing Prince Andrew’s position as patron, a similar role to a university chancellor, and stressed that it opposes “any activity that is contrary to the university’s values”.
The spokesman said: “We will be reviewing the position of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, as our patron at the next board of governors meeting on Tuesday 26th November. The university opposes all forms of discrimination, abuse, human trafficking and any activity that is contrary to the university’s values.”
It comes after the University of Huddersfield weakened its stance on supporting the royal after the university’s students’ union passed a motion to lobby for Prince Andrew’s resignation on the evening of 18 November.
A spokesman for the university had previously told Research Professional News that the university was “not going to ask him to stand down” despite increasing pressure from students and the public to drop its connections with him.
In a statement on 18 November the university said the royal’s “enthusiasm for innovation and entrepreneurship is a natural fit with the work of the university” and confirmed that The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Awards, which are promoted across universities throughout the North of England, would go ahead next year under the same name.
But in an updated statement on 19 November, a university spokesman said it would be “consulting” with students following the motion against Prince Andrew.
The spokesman said: “We are aware of the Students’ Union meeting last night and the motion it passed to lobby the Chancellor to resign. As a university, we listen to our students’ views and concerns and we will now be consulting with them over the coming weeks.”