Prince Andrew ‘not a role model for students’

Margaux Haime and Tristan Smith

Image caption

Margaux Haime and Tristan Smith criticised Prince Andrew

University of Huddersfield students calling for the Duke of York to be sacked from his role as chancellor say he is “not the sort of role model” to represent them.

Tristan Smith accused Prince Andrew of failing to show integrity in a BBC Newsnight interview about his links to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

He said the prince should not be in a position of “authority and respect”.

The prince has stood by his decision to speak out, despite a fierce backlash.

On Monday, the Huddersfield students’ union panel passed a motion to lobby the prince to resign as their chancellor, following a campaign launched by Mr Smith.

The university has since said that it listens to its students’ views and will “now be consulting with them over the coming weeks”.

It comes as businesses, charities and other institutions continue to react to the Duke of York’s appearance on Saturday’s Newsnight, in what critics called a “car-crash” interview.

On Wednesday, Standard Chartered bank said it would not be renewing its sponsorship of the Duke of York’s entrepreneurship initiative Pitch@Palace.

Accountancy firm KPMG has also said it will not be renewing its support for the scheme.

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Media captionPrince Andrew on Epstein: ‘There was no indication, absolutely no indication’

Speaking on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme on Tuesday, Mr Smith criticised the prince over his friendship with US financier Epstein – who took his own life in August while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges in the US.

He accused the Queen’s third child of “trying to dismiss” the row and failing to recognise Epstein’s victims.

Mr Smith said: “It seems very unreasonable, I think, that we would value students going out into the world with integrity, with morals, with upstanding reputations – and then that not being reflected in our chancellor’s behaviour and his statements, which I’ve found to be very upsetting.”

He said the prince did not represent the characteristics that he would like to see in a chancellor, including integrity, compassion and “the ability to make a stand”.

Asked to address the prince directly, Mr Smith added: “All of these things I would like them to be the values that my institution upholds.

“And as someone who represents my institution, it does let me down that I feel that you’re not expressing those values right now.”

Fellow undergraduate Margaux Haime said: “It’s very serious and important allegations that have been made and it feels like the university is not acting on them.

“If it was any other person I feel like they would have. It could have been a member of staff, a student, any one of us – there would have been immediate actions.”

Prince urged to come forward

Meanwhile, a woman who has accused Epstein of sexually abusing her as a 15-year-old has urged Prince Andrew to share information about his former friend.

The accuser, identified as “Jane Doe 15”, told reporters she had suffered a “vicious, prolonged sexual assault” from Epstein.

She did not accuse Prince Andrew of any wrongdoing but called on him to come forward with more information. “Prince Andrew, and any others who were close to Epstein, should come forward and give a statement under oath on what information they have,” she said.

Prince Andrew’s BBC interview followed allegations by Virginia Giuffre, known at the time as Virginia Roberts, who claims the prince had sex with her on three occasions – the first when she was aged 17.

Prince Andrew “categorically” denied having had sexual contact with her.

In an extraordinary interview, which you can watch in full on BBC iPlayer in the UK or YouTube elsewhere in the world, the duke said:

  • He had investigations carried out to establish whether a photograph of him with Ms Giuffre was faked, but they were inconclusive
  • He would testify under oath if “push came to shove” and his lawyers advised him to
  • He was unaware of an arrest warrant against Epstein when he invited him to Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party at Windsor Castle
  • He does not regret his friendship with Epstein because of “the opportunities I was given to learn” from him about trade and business
  • Speaking out about his relationship with the financier had become almost “a mental health issue” for him

It is not the first time Huddersfield University students have tried to remove the prince from his post at the university.

In September, Huddersfield Labour Students (HLS) called for him to resign over his “blasé” attitude to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The university stood by the prince on that occasion.

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