The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday 14 February to agree upon a date to re-open nominations for the University of Glasgow’s next rector, after no nominations were received by the closing date last month.
SRC president Ameer Ibrahim backed reopening nominations for rector as soon as possible, meaning that the election would take place in March of this year. Former SRC president Liam King argued for Council to support postponing the rectorial election until the beginning of the 2017/2018 academic session.
The SRC’s emergency vote on the issue will be held prior to the next University Court meeting on 15 February.
At the meeting on Thursday 2 February, King branded the failure to secure a single nominee a “massive embarrassment” and suggested that it may persuade the University Court to abolish the position entirely at the next Rectorial elections in three years time, due to the potential instability the role creates and the perceived lack of interest by students.
King argued that Ibrahim “should carry much of the burden” for the failure to secure nominations, as he showed “no leadership” on the issue.
Ibrahim argued that “tangible approaches were made” to potential nominees. He told Council members that at least four people were approached and all declined to be nominated for various reasons. He also noted that the board of management of the Queen Margaret Union had deliberated over two potential candidates, before failing to nominate one.
Regarding the push for nominations, Ibrahim told Council members: “Do I think more could have been done? Yes.”
Members of the SRC suggested that Ibrahim should contact popular societies on campus and encourage them to nominate somebody for the position, soon to be vacated by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. He said that he, in fact, had done just that already, explaining that it had not been included in his Council report as the conversations were “more informal”.
Other proposed initiatives for increasing engagement when nominations reopen included posters and promotional videos, similar the video produced by Glasgow University Student Television (GUST) earlier this year ahead of the original deadline for nominations.
Ameer Ibrahim told the Glasgow Guardian: “Council has expressed that an election should take place to appoint a new Rector going forward. Currently, there are differing views across Council in relation to when nominations should be called – this will further be discussed at an Emergency Council Meeting being called over the next week. The SRC will liaise with the University to identify further communication channels to engage the Student Body nominating candidates for the position of Rector in the future.”
Ibrahim will take the SRC’s decision to the next University Court meeting where the rectorial election dates will be finalised.