Obama won’t get his honorary degree Saturday – UJ

2013-06-27 08:15

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The University of Johannesburg (UJ) says US president Barack Obama will not receive an honorary doctorate on Saturday.

“The sole purpose of the Obama visit to our Soweto campus on Saturday is for his ‘townhall engagement’ with African youth leaders from South African and several other African countries,” said UJ deputy vice chancellor Tinyiko Maluleke.

According to Maluleke, the UJ Council has reached a decision on whether to award Obama an honorary doctorate, but they will only make the official announcement at a later stage.

This follows a student petition against honouring Obama.

“But even if they have decided to give him the doctorate, it will not be on Saturday,” said Maluleke.

Maluleke also said if Obama is to receive the honorary doctorate it would probably not be soon.

“There is usually a substantial amount of time that passes between when a university decides to offer someone an honorary degree and when the conferment actually happens.”

Maluleke said if the UJ council has decided to offer Obama an honorary doctorate, they (UJ) would have to find a another time when their schedule and Obama’s overlap.

He also said UJ was not organising Saturday’s event.

“The UJ Soweto campus is the venue for this event. But the event itself belongs to the US Embassy and the White House,” said Maluleke.

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