Steve Morrison has been elected the University of Edinburgh’s 52nd Rector, receiving 2,666 (61.9%) votes, over Peter McColl’s 1,638 (38.1%). The results were announced at 19:30 on Monday, February 11 in the Playfair Library.
The founder and former CEO of ALL3Media, the largest independent TV production group in Britain, Morrison was the first student to stand for Rector in 1968.
He campaigned for the role on a platform promising more interdisciplinary or “hybrid” courses, lower fees for English, Welsh, and Northern Irish students, and more focus on mentoring and employability.
His other proposals include allowing for more integration of outside courses, offering credits earned outside the classroom, and clearing Wednesday afternoons of all classes.
Speaking to The Student on the victory, Morrison said: “What I think was the most amazing thing about this campaign is that so many students and staff supported what was a very bold, progressive vision for the future of education. It wasn’t meant to criticise. I think Edinburgh is a great university, one of the best in the world. But it was to catapult us all into thinking about how you connect with the modern world.
“I think there were many innovative strands in our vision and I’m thrilled that students and staff have backed it. And I will now try to repay their trust.”
The vote brings to a close the three-year rectorship of Peter McColl.
McColl, who was elected unopposed in 2012, focused his campaign on fairer accommodation, better and more feedback, and eliminating fees for all British students.
Under election rules, Morrison will assume the role immediately, and will chair his first meeting of Court on May 11.
Speaking on the results, McColl told The Student: I’m delighted to have worked for students and staff for 3 years as Rector. The focus on teaching, better University accommodation and strength of staff engagement were my priorities and I think I’ve done a great deal to improve those things.
“I wish Steve Morrison well and hope he will be able to work for students and staff on the challenges ahead.”
Jonny Ross-Tatam, campaign director for Steve Morrison, attributed the victory to a dedicated last minute effort by the campaign team.
Speaking on the campaign, he told The Student: “I think that by 7 o’clock today, we had done absolutely everything that we could.”
He continued: “You know, 800 votes isn’t that much [of a victory].
“I think we kind of decided on Friday that we had all the tools, we had the ideas, and we had the people, but we hadn’t really kicked off our campaigning. We hadn’t got visible. Since Friday we absolutely ran helter-skelter. It was ‘Operation Go Nuts’. And in the end that was the 800 votes there.”
Asked by The Student what his first actions would be, Morrison said: “That will be a surprise.”