Kingston chooses its role models – unwisely

In 2018 at the Rose Theatre KU awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters to an American billionaire, Vernon Hill, and his dog ‘Duffy’. Uni managers milked a great deal of publicity out of how this innovative ‘banking hero’ was a role model for graduates, blah, blah, blah. A few weeks ago this controversial character, who is the boss of Metro Bank, along with his dog (they seem joined at the hip), gave a rambling talk to bemused Business studies students at Kingston Hill on how his bank has supposedly become a ‘legendary brand’ (his words) and the bank’s customers are not customers but ‘fans’. He also claimed: ‘My dog is the best known dog in Britain’.

Even the Business studies lecturers who attended looked embarrassed at this weird performance and Hill’s big boasts about Metro (‘open seven days a week’, all pets especially welcomed, best bank in Britain, etc, etc). Yet for the past few months Metro’s reputation has tanked. In a survey, its I.T. security system was found to be completely inadequate, making it one of the worst banks in Britain for security of customer accounts. Just a couple of weeks ago the troubled bank also had to negotiate a £375m emergency rescue deal as it admitted customers had been scrambling to withdraw their money amid major concerns about is future. Shares in the bank have plunged since January this year, and in the last few weeks Metro have announced plans to save up to £75m by slashing costs in its branches and head office by cutting jobs. Investors have also been raising questions about Vernon Hill himself, and calls for him to go are likely to intensify.

So the question lecturers at Kingston Hill are asking is, was it really wise for their Dean and other SLT members to hold up Hill as a role model for KU’s students? Even worse for Spier and his mob of bickering senior managers, any hope they might have entertained that being extra nice to Mr. Hill and Duffy might result in a big donation of cash to KU’s threadbare coffers seems to be slipping away very fast. As one senior lecturer at Kingston Hill said loudly in a recent meeting, KU’s loony love affair with Hill can only be described as ‘barking’.

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3 Responses to Kingston chooses its role models – unwisely

  1. Bill Stickers says:

    Looks like former FASS sociology lecturer now MP Rupa Huq has made anti-Semitic comments to some of her staff;

  2. KU has a long history of aligning itself with shady characters. Just look at this person they hired:-

    From a 2009 press interview:
    Q2: The man who investigated your collective grievance was a man called Zafar Ali. You say he is from Hizb ut Tahrir. Provide the proof. Why would Kingston draft in a bigoted Islamist extremist to investigate a Jewish lecturer?

    I have no proof that he is, in fact, a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir. What I do know is that he has been along-time activist for the establishment of an Islamic primary school in Slough, and that he now serves as “promoter” and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Iqra Islamic Primary School, which has recently been revealed to be headed by members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, and which has, therefore, lost its government funding. It seems to me from what I understand about Hizb ut Tahrir, that they would not be inclined to appoint a Chair of the Board of Governors who was not, at the very least, sympathetic to their views. Having read in the Slough Observer that Mr Ali is the Chair of the Board of Governors(, and in the Telegraph, ofthe school’s connection to Hizb ut Tahrir (, I have drawn this rather logical conclusion about Mr Ali’s likely ties to the organization.

    As to why Kingston would employ someone like Mr Ali, I can only speculate that they were aware ofhis anti-Semitic views, as well as his background in connection with a number of unrelated scandals, and that these facts suggested to them that he would be predisposed to cooperating with their plan to sack a Jewish staff member. As I understand it, his involvement with the creation of the Iqra School pre-dates the time of his hiring by Kingston, and so they would have presumably known that he was involved in such activities.

  3. N Neskio says:

    Don’t be so certain.

    The withdrawal of £375m of deposits from Metro Bank is surely analogous to the recent reductions in student recruitment and in the bucks that brings to the coffers of the college.

    So, perhaps unwittingly, they chose the perfect role model…

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