Collage credit: Jan Jasinski

Rector voting opens

By Odhran Gallagher

The election for the next Rector of the University of Glasgow has opened via the UofG Life app.

Voting for the next rector has officially begun, as of 9:00am Monday 24 March. All current students are eligible to vote via the UofG Life app in the ‘voting’ tab. The electronic vote is open until 4:00pm Tuesday 25 March, with results due to be published soon afterwards. 

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.

Following the closing of nominations on Monday 22 January, four candidates were confirmed to be running for Rector: Professor Ghassan Abu-Sittah, Susie McCabe, Lady Rita Rae, and Paul Sweeney MSP.

Professor Ghassan Abu-Sittah’s campaign has garnered a lot of attention on campus, with the British-Palestinian Doctor being endorsed by a number of societies including Glasgow Against Arms and Fossil Fuels, UofG Solidarity, and Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association. 

Abu-Sittah has pledged in his manifesto to give “students the opportunity to declare their opposition to Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza” and to campaign for the University to divest from the roughly 5 million pounds that the University invests in companies such as BAE Systems and the Thales Group. But he has has been criticised for his policy aim of moving away from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism which, he argues, conflates criticism of Israel with antisemitism and “threatens academic criticism of Israel and Palestinian solidarity events”. This policy was criticised by Jewish Society in a statement urging students not to support Abu-Sittah in which they said “Jews are the only people who should be able to define antisemitism”.

Susie McCabe has been endorsed by Glasgow Students For Choice and told The Glasgow Guardian earlier in the campaign: “I know what it’s like to do an apprenticeship and have two part time jobs. I know what it’s like to struggle financially…I’m working class, but I have done nothing but challenge the status quo. And that’s where I think me being wrapped up and being a conduit between the students and the university management would be very important.”

Lady Rita Rae is the current Rector of the University and is seeking re-election, telling The Glasgow Guardian that she chose to run again after being encouraged by a group of students. During her first campaign, Lady Rae was endorsed by a number of societies on campus including Glasgow University Law Society and Dialectic Society. In her current campaign, Lady Rae is being endorsed solely by Glasgow University Catholic Association.

Finally, Paul Sweeney MSP has been endorsed by Glasgow University Labour Club and the Glasgow University Union. Sweeney’s manifesto focused on the housing crisis, student wellbeing, and student-staff solidarity on issues of divestment from arms companies and industrial action. 

In an interview with The Glasgow Guardian Paul Sweeney said: “I can be of support generally to all the campus institutions to try and raise the profile of their activities and their elections and so on, it’s not just about the SRC, but there’s obviously the other student bodies that we can work with. I want to be a generally helpful presence, I’m not here to dictate terms, I just get a buzz from finding problems and trying to help people solve them – that’s what I’m about.”

More information on how to vote and on the Rector campaign as a whole can be found here.


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