During the last five years of his life, Sir Jimmy had donated over £400,000 to the University. Savile has had two formal allegations of rape and six of indecent assault brought against him.Police say they are also following up 120 other lines of inquiry relating to other potential victims.
In 2008, the star pledged £300,000 over five years to fund the LURE scholarship scheme (Leeds University Research Enterprise). The University will continue to receive the funds until 2013.
The University has told Leeds Student it is choosing not to comment on this matter. Neither staff nor students involved in LURE would speak to this paper.
The directors of LURE have previously praised Sir Jimmy as “a truly extraordinary citizen” adding that they were “hugely privileged” to have him as a supporter. Vice Chancellor Michael Arthur also said: “I am very grateful to Sir Jimmy, and we both hope others will follow suit.” Savile was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law by the University in 1986.
The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust (JSCT) distributes funds to schemes like LURE. Speaking to the Sunday Times, one of its trustees said it needed to “make amends and atone” for his alleged crimes. Trustees have suggested that the remaining funds should given to charities that work with the victims of sexual abuse.
Speaking to Leeds Student a JSCT trustee praised the University’s scholarship scheme, which gives medical students a bursary to fund research during vacations, saying it helps “bright young students to become brilliant adults and cure all the world’s ills”.
Elsewhere in Leeds, reactions to the allegations have been strong. Leeds City Council will remove a plaque bearing Savile’s name from Civic Hall. A spokesperson told this paper: “in light of the very serious nature of the allegations, we will be removing the inscription and have stopped work on other possible commemorations”. The Royal Armouries Conference Centre has also announced that it is to drop Savile’s name from a venue at Clarence Dock.
The BBC has now launched an inquiry into claims that Sir Jimmy sexually abused underage girls in his dressing room during the 1970s. The allegations were first made in an ITV documentary last week. Several women say Savile molested them when he visited their school in Surrey 40 years ago. Colleagues of Savile have also spoken out, saying they knew about his behaviour, which they claim took place even at the height of his career.
The Metropolitan Police is now investigating Savile and similar inquiries have been launched by police forces in Manchester, Liverpool and Middlesbrough. Though no investigation has yet reached a conclusion, the Metropolitan police state: “it is clear from what women are telling us that Savile was a predatory sex offender.”
As well as Savile’s Charitable Trust, LURE is also funded by Heart Research, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and University alumni.
Additional research by Natalie Tuck