Jon Snow, the Channel 4 newsreader, has been nominated for an honorary degree from Liverpool University, which suspended him for his role in a student sit-in in 1970.
But true to the spirit of those revolutionary days, he says he will not accept the degree unless a fellow activist, Peter Cresswell, receives and accepts a similar honour.
Mr Snow was a leader in a demonstration that led to almost 300 students occupying the university’s senate building for 12 days. He was suspended for a year for “personally forcibly preventing a senior administrative officer of the university from reaching his office”. [Wrong – that was Pete Cresswell’s additional charge]
The protest was against the university’s links with firms connected to South Africa in apartheid days and to chemical research. It began with Mr Snow grabbing a microphone from the Chancellor and urging fellow students to take action.
He did not graduate. His Who’s Who entry says: ”Sent down following political disturbances, 1970.” By the time his suspension was up, he had joined television.
Mr Cresswell, an inspections officer for Liverpool council, has also been nominated for an honorary degree by the students’ union. He was expelled three weeks before his finals.
Mr Snow said: ”Everyone at the time was a protester. Revolution was in the air. ‘But I am very honoured to have been nominated. I love Liverpool.”
Today’s students are apparently not protesters. Sarah-Louise Puntan Galeo, the president of the Guild of Students, said: ”There are now two classes of student – those who have enough money not to bother about the issues and those who are so skint they have to work in Tesco every afternoon, so haven’t the time.”