Rector interview and analysis: Duncan Logie

Published

Mac Convery andBillie Armstrong
Writers
Interview

Why do you believe that you are suited to this role? What would you hope to achieve if you were elected?
I am suited to the role because I will match the energy and passion students have for making the most of their time at university whilst representing them. I know what it takes to be a good Rector and I hope to recreate the norm that Rectors are accessible, hard working, and deeply aware of campus issues. I would like to make sure every student has good facilities during the campus remodel and keep the University accountable to its commitments to sustainable growth and operation. I have researched the goals of various on campus institutions and know how I could help as Rector. I have the drive and competency to do this job well.

How would you approach the UK government to convince them to reduce tuition fees? If this was unsuccessful, how would you support students struggling financially because of said fees?
I will use the office of Rector to influence policy that affects students. I will write a letter to Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening about how rises in tuition fees in England affect English students in Scotland, and will continue to pressure all relevant authorities to understand the problems with the system as it is throughout the three-year term. I will also put pressure on the University to support students struggling financially. Finally, I will look to collaborate with other groups who are working for a reduction in university fees.

You mentioned in your manifesto that you would offer additional support to the SRC regarding their 5-year strategic plan. What support, exactly, would you provide?
Some concrete examples of support for the strategic plan are; referrals to relevant SRC services covered in point 7, writing to government officials about policy relating to students covered in point 1, and I would work closely with sabbatical officers to represent students effectively and efficiently which is covered in point 18.

It’s said that trying to please everyone results in pleasing no-one. It’s said that trying to please everyone results in pleasing no-one. How, then, do you think you could ensure that all students are supported by the University?
For many students, the options and facilities the University currently provides are enough to support them through their studies. However, I would ensure that all students were supported by the University by having three surgeries per month over the two campuses. I will hold them at times that are easily accessible to students so they can be heard by their representative to take forward to the University Court and also to receive relevant guidance to help with any issues they may face.

What experiences and achievements have you had that make you “well-suited to undertake the duties of a working rector”?
My most critical experience has been as a student for the last four years. I’ve immersed myself in different aspects of life in Scotland and at Glasgow University. I joined two sports teams, blockaded the Faslane Naval Base, been made an Elder in the Church of Scotland, debated in Parliamentaries at the GUU, learned about all the great work of the many justice focused societies on campus such as Amnesty and GRASS at the QMU. I’ve worked as a dishwasher at a cafe on Byers Road and been an intern over the summer holidays, but most importantly I’ve listened to students and stayed in touch with what’s going on at the University right now. My experiences have led me to be able to use the skills that I developed at Glasgow University to put together a manifesto that is relevant to the needs of students and concretely shows what I would do as Rector.

You say you have “listened to students”, but what have you done about their concerns/grievances etc?
In response to the concerns and grievances I’ve heard from current students I’ve decided to run for Rector.

Why does the university need a recent alumnus instead of, say, an experienced academic? How would the former be more beneficial?
The University has plenty of experienced academics on Court. Glasgow University needs a recent alumnus because the Court needs to hear the thoughts and concerns of the students and recent alumni are best placed to accurately convey those those issues. A working Rector is more crucial because the recent Higher Education Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament last year allows some of the key privileges of the Rector to be bestowed on members of the University Court that are not answerable to the students if the Rector doesn’t show up.

Analysis

Duncan Logie’s manifesto is very much focused on his commitment to being an active rector whose own recent experience as a student of Glasgow University stands him in good stead to understand and prioritise the current needs of students. He has promised to hold three surgeries per month on campus in order for students to be able to voice their concerns directly, as well as working alongside the SRC executives to gain a better idea of student concerns. Logie’s promises are encouraging in terms of promoting international study and research links at Glasgow as he hopes to reduce tuition fees and continue to strive towards the goals set in Glasgow’s five-year plans which aim to develop international research projects.

Duncan is a recent graduate of Glasgow University and describes himself as a candidate who is “as close to a student as you can get”. The importance of having a representative who is deeply involved in campus life and understands the current issues that it can present is considered to be of paramount importance in Logie’s campaign, and his promise to allow students to be able to run for Rector again are a testament to his belief that students should be represented by a student, rather than a higher profile but subsequently less active figure.

His promises to put pressure on the University to provide the highest standard of learning and teaching facilities are vague in terms of areas he would like to pinpoint, but he mentions that he would focus on upholding standards while the construction of the new Gilmorehill campus is underway which is encouraging in the face of concern that this massive project could become a drain on funding for other areas of campus life. Overall, Logie’s manifesto has clear aims; some more ambitious than others – in particular, his dedication to reducing tuition fees when these are set to reach the £10,000 bracket in coming years due to inflation. As a candidate, his recent experience at Glasgow University is his best asset as he has experienced first-hand many of the issues that he would be tackling over the next three years, and would provide a reliable and approachable source of support for students, despite his potentially unfeasible aims.