The University of Oxford says it will “reconsider” an honorary degree it awarded the Sultan of Brunei following the outcry over new Islamic laws in the South-east Asian nation that punish gay sex and adultery by stoning offenders to death.
The university said in a statement that it shared the “international revulsion” the laws induced and that it would reconsider a 1993 decision to confer the honorary degree of civil law by diploma to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
The university added, however, that “just as nobody has a right to confer an honorary degree, nobody has a right summarily to rescind it.”
“The decision to confer this degree 26 years ago was recommended by a Committee and approved by Council and by Congregation at the time,” they wheedled — but insisted that “At no point has the University declined to reconsider [the degree].”
Dozens of protesters raised the rainbow flag of the LGBT rights movement on Saturday outside London’s Dorchester Hotel, which Brunei’s sultan owns. Celebrities including George Clooney, Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres have supported a global boycott of nine hotels tied to Hassanal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.