The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) have voted to recommend re-opening the Rector elections as soon as possible.
The motion to delay the the elections was not passed, with nine voting for the motion and 19 voting against. Five people abstained from the vote.
The motion to recommend delaying the elections was formally proposed by Gender Equality Officer Thaïs Ramdani, and seconded by Disability Equality Officer Lauren McDougall at the meeting on 14 February.
The motion read: “Council instructs our current representatives on University Court to negotiate with the University to reschedule the rectorial election process to Semester 1 of academic session 2017-2018.”
24 members of council signed the motion to recommend delaying the Rector selection process.
Ramdani argued that the issue “can’t be fixed overnight” and that the SRC has a responsibility to “represent the students, and so it is important for each and every one of us to have a say on the matter.” Ramdani also cited a clash between the upcoming student election dates and the proposed dates for the Rector nominations and elections, suggesting that it could result in a lack of engagement from students.
The proposed dates recommend closing Rector nominations on 3 March and holding the elections from 20 – 21 March. The SRC elections will be held from 1 – 2 March.
McDougall suggested delaying the elections as “we need to elect the right Rector, not just any Rector”. McDougall further echoed Ramdani’s concerns about addressing underlying issues of engagement prior to reopening nominations, and “not run the risk of losing the Rector”. Addressing concerns surrounding a lack of student representation on Court, McDougall stated: “We very much have a working relationship with Court, it is not an ‘us versus them’… The Rector is not the only student voice on Court.”
A number of attendees at the council meeting spoke out against the motion, including Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA) President Ruari Thomson, who said: “I think engagement is really at its highest point at the moment… We should take advantage of the engagement while it’s here.” Thomson stated that he believed engagement to be massively lower in the autumn SRC and QMU [Queen Margaret Union] elections.
School Representative for Medicine Haseeb Hamid argued: “The ‘buzz’ might be gone over the summer and it is presumptive to assume that we will have a rector first semester next year.”
Regarding the vote result, Ramdani told the Glasgow Guardian: “The decision to organise an emergency meeting was made in order to allow council to make an informed decision on when to advise court to hold the rectorial elections. Ultimately, though the motion was not passed, it did allow for the entire council to express their views on the reopening dates of the nominations, which was the main aim of this emergency meeting.“
SRC President Ameer Ibrahim stated that: “The SRC Council held an emergency meeting this evening to vote on a motion to postpone the Rectorial Elections until the next academic year. Council voted against this motion, after a range of various views and perspectives were expressed on the matter. Going forward, a recommendation will be made to the University to reopen the nomination process following the upcoming University Court meeting. We will continue to work with the University over the coming weeks, and will hopefully see good candidates put forward for the next election.”
Ibrahim will bring the council’s recommendation to the University Court meeting tomorrow on 15 February. The final decision regarding re-opening Rector nominations will be made by the University Court.