Liverpool Hope University strips Rolf Harris of honorary degree

Grace Vielma
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Disgraced entertainer loses second degree in a week

Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris has been stripped of his degree from Liverpool Hope University.

Last week, the University of East London withdrew Harris’ honour, with immediate effect.

And now, Liverpool Hope University have revealed that they too have axed the shamed star’s honorary degree.

Liverpool Hope University told The Tab: “University Council decided at its meeting held on 3rd July 2014 to withdraw the University’s honorary award given to Rolf Harris in January 2010. This has been communicated to Mr Harris’s legal representatives.”

Harris was awarded the degree for his contribution to art and music education on Australian Day in 2010 .

On Friday the 84-year-old – once considered a national treasure – was jailed for five years and nine months for sexually abusing four girls, aged between seven and 19.

And now, in the latest phase of the star’s public fall from grace, two British universities have stripped the veterinary entertainer of his honorary titles.

Liverpool Hope University have axed Harris' degree

Last Tuesday, the University of East London stripped the Australian of the honour he was handed in 2007 for his significant contribution to the arts and culture.

The University of East London told The Tab: “The Board of Governors at the UEL has approved a recommendation by the Vice-Chancellor’s Group to withdraw Mr Harris’ honorary award, effective immediately today. The University has communicated this decision to Mr Harris’s legal representatives.

“We would like to extend our sympathies to all those who may have been victims of Mr Harris’ wrongful actions.”

But, Liverpool Hope and the UEL are not the only British university to celebrate Harris’ life work. Warwick University until recently paid homage to the star, displaying his art work in the Student Union building.

The cartoonist, who is famed for his grandfather-like role in Animal Hospital and painting the Queen, will now be prosecuted for a string of sex attacks on young girls in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

One girl, who was a childhood friend of his daughter, endured 16 years of Harris’ torment from the age of 13.

In another incident, a seven-year-old autograph chaser was groped on stage after a performance in 1969.

And it’s not just universities who have showered the star with awards. He’s the proud owner of an MBE, OBE, CBE and Officer of the Order of Australia – all of which are likely to be stripped in the coming days.

rolf (Copy)

Georgie, a Liverpool Hope student who once met the shamed star told The Tab: “I think they should strip his degrees.

He’s an ambassador for education and higher learning yet a grown man used his power and status to hurt children. He is no longer a role model and should be stripped of any academic titles he gained during his career.”

“I vaguely remember meeting him with my nana at a local music festival as a kid. I’m pretty sure he hugged me too, so that’s pretty awkward now looking back on it.”

But Harris is not the first questionable recipient of a superficial honour.

Jimmy Saville received an honorary degree from Bedfordshire University in 2009 for his fundraising work.

Last week, Oxford University, Aberdeen University and King’s College London refused to strip the homophobic Sultan of Brunei of his honorary degrees.

Earlier this year, Hassanal Bolkiah imposed extreme Sharia Law which will see gay people and adulterers stoned to death, but British universities have made no plans to cut ties with Brunei’s leader.

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