University figures ‘incorrect’

The University of Ulster has hit back at criticism of the amount of money it reportedly spent on awards of Honorary Degree ceremonies. The figures on which that criticism was based were “incorrect” according to the UU.

It was reported Universities in Northern Ireland spent close to £300,000, the UU £195,360 since 2007 awarding honorary degrees in recent years.

The University of Ulster was lamblasted by Margaret Ritchie, in the NI Assembly who described the expenditure as “alarming.”

However a spokesperson for the University of Ulster informed the Journal: “These figures account for the total expenditure on graduation ceremonies, not only the Honorary awards.”

The spokesperson said; “The University would like to clarify the expenditure figures supplied in the recent answer to an Assembly Question.

“The figures provided included costs attributable to graduation ceremonies overall and were not solely a breakdown of the expenditure involved in awarding an honorary doctorate.

“We hold over 19 graduation ceremonies ever year, including six in the Millennium Forum. A total of over 5,000 students receive awards.

“Over the last three years, we are confident that that the University spent no more than £71,200 on costs associated with the award of honorary degrees to 52 people – an average of less than £1,400 each. The University regrets that erroneous information about spending on graduations was given.”