College Council Withdraws Proposal to Remove Elections of Staff Members

Izzi Vaughan | Editor in Chief

In an ongoing UCU dispute at Royal Holloway and across the country, the College Council put forward a proposal to scrap elections and cut the number of Staff Members from six to four. In a recent development, the College Council has dropped the proposal to remove elections for Staff Members. The proposal to cut the number of staff members remains in place, however.

The Academic Board, responsible for the academic management of the university, have opposed this proposal from Chair of the Council Dame Margaret Hodge MP. The 1985 Founding Act states that when changes to Statutes are proposed, Council must formally consider the views of the Academic Board, which was not fulfilled at the June 4th College Council meeting.

The 2nd July College Council meeting upheld the principle of direct election for staff members. However, the proposal to cut the number of elected staff members of council remains. This proposal would cut the staff membership by 1/3, from six to four members, and cut the number of independent members by 1/4, from sixteen to twelve, therefore disproportionately impacting staff members.

The current average governing body size for Russell Group universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, is 23. This proposal would cut the College Council to 19 members. Guidance from the Committee of University Chairs (CUC), the representative body for Chairs of UK universities, states that governing bodies ought to have between 12 and 25 members (CUC, The Higher Education Code of Governance, December 2014, revised June 2018). No Russell Group university has no elected members. The leading institutions in the country are known for the depth of their staff representation of governing bodies. This proposal is therefore not in the interests of staff, students, or the success of the university.

I would encourage students to email the Chair of the Council via the College Secretariat at secretariat@rhul.ac.uk to oppose the proposal.

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