Anwar on two fronts

Kate Powell and Aamer Anwar with rip down the middle

Credit: University of Glasgow Youtube, freepick.com, Glasgow Guardian

Hamish Morrison & Selena Drake
Editor & Deputy Editor

The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) has criticised University Rector Aamer Anwar for an alleged lack of engagement with the student body, at a council meeting on Thursday 18 January. The criticism comes after comments made by the Rector at a roundtable event in December, where he asked “What planet are [the SRC] living on?” with regards to the extra £200,000 the University suddenly pledged after the receipt of the SRC’s open letter in November of last year.

The Glasgow Guardian understands that since assuming his position, Anwar has met with the SRC sabbatical officers on a management training day, and has been at a council meeting where SRC members have also been present, but has not formally met with them on an individual basis. He alleges that this is a result of the SRC’s lack of engagement with him personally. He claims that none of the SRC executive have attended any of his three roundtable events, despite being invited to do so. Further to this, he claims that he has not been invited back to council meetings since the first of the semester.

Speaking to The Glasgow Guardian, SRC President Kate Powell said: “We would have welcomed him reaching out to us with any concerns, unfortunately he chose to voice criticism of us in a public arena without foundation.”

Anwar, in response to the SRC’s criticism, has argued that he “has not been made aware of their events” and that “I cannot think of one occasion where they’ve actually invited me along to attend.” Anwar also suggested that he cannot be expected to “just sit and trawl through their social media” attempting to find out when SRC events are taking place, noting his busy life as a father and a criminal defense lawyer, on top of being Rector.

The Glasgow Guardian also understands that since taking his seat as Rector, Anwar has also not formally met anyone from the Counselling and Psychological Services (CaPS), despite pledging to “work with the existing services to help improve access to those who need them” in his manifesto.

Anwar has not held formal surgeries on a fortnightly basis, as he set out in his manifesto, but has stated that he has been meeting students “once or twice a week” since assuming the position as Rector. Anwar said that these meetings, while not being formal, have been arranged with individuals who have reached out to him with concerns.

Additionally, Anwar has noted that he has held three roundtable events over the last term. Anwar argued that “not on one occasion did they (SRC representatives) bother to show up.” Anwar has also accused the SRC of failing to “engage” with issues on campus, claiming that the council “sits silently at University Court”. He has claimed that the SRC could have met with him “on several occasions”, saying that his “door is always open and I am on campus two to three times a week”.

He went on to say: “it seems to me [the SRC] are perhaps more interested in keeping senior management at this university happy rather than working with someone who was elected with a mandate to quite literally rock the boat.”

The Glasgow Guardian was told by Powell that Aamer Anwar reached out to the SRC over the weekend to arrange a meeting via email.