By Natalie Barton
The University of Strathclyde has been put under pressure to annul Oscar Pistorius’ honorary degree after he was sentenced for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.
The 400m runner had always admitted to being responsible for the death at his home in Pretoria, South Africa, but claimed he believed his partner was an intruder leading him to fire four bullets through the toilet door, killing the law graduate-turned-model.
The honour was presented to the infamous Paralympian in November 2012 after making history as the first double leg amputee to compete in both the Paralympic and Olympic games – just months before he had shot dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
This was in recognition for his great success in sport after his participation in the London 2012 Olympics and was given to him during a ceremony at the university’s Barony Hall. When he received the degree Pistorius made sure to praise the University for its research into the development of prosthetic limbs.
After Pistorius, dubbed the ‘Blade Runner’, was handed his five year sentence for manslaughter – which he is believed to only spend 10 months of in jail – women’s groups have urged the university bosses to act. The group believe he is no longer an appropriate role model for the students of the university.
Susan Jack, of the Glasgow Women’s Aid, said: “For the university to say ‘Okay we know this happened but we’re going to keep this in place’ sends out a really dangerous message.”
Some students from the University agree with this, Amy Ford, a second year student said: “I don’t think there should be people like that representing the university, he did a lot of good before what happened but I don’t think they’d think the same way if it wasn’t someone famous, they’d probably just take it off straight away.”
Other students question the intentions of the university itself, Jacob Bird said: “Is Strathclyde just trying to protect its image by getting it revoked? Or do they wholeheartedly believe it should be removed?”
A university spokesperson said: “We are aware of Judge Masipa’s verdict and a decision regarding Oscar Pistorius’ honorary degree will be made in line with university procedures.”
A survey held by the Daily Record website asked readers ‘Do you think Strathclyde University should strip Oscar Pistorius of his honorary degree?’ and as of October 26, 68% voted No.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);