Students call for Prince Andrew to quit as chancellor of Huddersfield University

Eleanor Busby
Press Association

Students have ramped up a campaign to unset Prince Andrew as chancellor of the University of Huddersfield.

The institution’s student union will push for the duke to resign over his friendship with the convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. He has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

It comes after there was unanimous support for a motion stating that the university should not be represented by “a man with ties to organised child sexual exploitation and assault”.

Tristan Smith, who launched the campaign, believes the BBC Newsnight interview - in which Prince Andrew denied having sex with a teenager because he was in Pizza Express at the time of the alleged incident – added strength to the calls.

Mr Smith, a third-year English Literature and Creative Writing student, told The Independent: “I don’t think this man should be a chancellor and a role model. I want to be proud to go here.”

The motion – which calls for “survivors of sexual assault” to be put above royal connections – was passed by the students’ union on Monday evening.

Mr Smith said: “A lot of people agree with me and I had a staff member say to me that they were really pleased that I had put it forward.

“I don’t think his actions represent us. I would be surprised if the SU does not back this. By continuing this relationship and inviting him to our graduations, the university is not making this a safe space.”

Since the interview on Saturday evening, students have called for Prince Andrew to stand down on Twitter using the #notmychancellor hashtag.

Student Bethan Day tweeted: “I think for the sake of our university and its good reputation, we need to do something to make sure that this man is not associated with us.”

Emmanuel Haruna, president of Huddersfield Students’ Union said: “As part of our processes to give students a voice, a student has put forward a motion to lobby Prince Andrew to resign as chancellor.

“This was already scheduled to go to a termly student jury which is taking place [on Monday]."

On Monday evening, the students' union tweeted that the motion to lobby Prince Andrew to resign had passed.

This is not the first time that a student group has called for the duke to stand down from his ceremonial post – but the university has continued to support Prince Andrew through the allegations.

A spokesperson for the University of Huddersfield said: “The Duke of York has long ties with the university stretching back to his first visit in 2001. He became its patron in 2013 and was then conferred as chancellor in 2015.

“As chancellor, he has taken a keen interest in the work of the university and has represented it in his official capacity on numerous occasions.

“His enthusiasm for innovation and entrepreneurship is a natural fit with the work of the university and every year the University of Huddersfield organises The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Awards, which are promoted across universities throughout the north of England.

“In relation to the allegations, the palace has previously issued an emphatic denial and this was reiterated in the BBC interview with the Duke of York and we have nothing further to add.”