There are still no confirmed candidates for the next Rector of the University of Glasgow just weeks before nominations close on 22 January.
Nearly two months after nominations opened, there are still no confirmed candidates for the next Rector of the University of Glasgow. Nominations are scheduled to close on January 22, with voting taking place in March, but it is unclear what will happen if nominations close later this month without a single candidate being nominated.
The Rector is a student-elected position on the university court (the governing body of the University), and the intention is that they will represent student issues. A new Rector is elected every three years. Former Rectors have included Adam Smith, Winnie Mandela, and Charles Kennedy. The current Rector is the lawyer and judge Lady Rita Rae.
In an editorial by The Glasgow Guardian published last year, Rita Rae was accused of being an absentee Rector. Lady Rae responded to these accusations in a recent interview with The Tab Glasgow, in which she shared her frustrations that the position of Rector, and what it entails, is widely unknown among the student body, adding that she “want[s] students to approach her” rather than the other way around.
Member of Parliament for Ochil and South Perthshire and candidate for Rector in the last election John Nicolson, has been critical of the current Rector Rita Rae, calling the claim that she was an absentee Rector “very disappointing but not surprising”. However, speaking to The Glasgow Guardian, Nicolson has confirmed that he does not intend to run again.
The position of Rector dates back to at least the year 1648 and its first holder, the Clergyman Robert Ramsay. Every year since, the University has had a Rector in post with the exception of the 2020 after the election was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in recent years the position of Rector has garnered less interest from the student population.
Former student Jordan Hunter told The Glasgow Guardian: “I think the lack of candidates shows how much student life and the University’s history has declined in recent years. The Rector position used to be so coveted that the last official duel in Scotland was fought over it, now the Rector is viewed primarily as the person who gives a freshers address. I think it shows how much modern student life at Glasgow is lacking and how very little has been done to engage students outside the classroom.”
Anyone can be nominated for the position, as long as they are not a member of staff or a currently enrolled student. Nominations can be submitted via the University website.