Simon Fanshawe OBE has been confirmed at The University of Edinburgh on 12 February, following an uncontested election.
Fanshawe, described by the university as an “activist”, was elected as Rector after running unopposed.
This comes after Edinburgh graduate Hope Conway-Gebbie, who ran for the role in the interest of students at the university, was disqualified from running as a result of her undertaking 5 hours of part-time work a week in the university’s Accommodation, Catering and Events team.
Fanshawe will take up the position on 4 March, replacing Debora Kayembe, who has served as Rector since 2021.
Upon his appointment, Fanshawe said: “Being named as Rector of the University of Edinburgh is a great honour.
“It is a university with a great legacy and current practice of stellar research and wonderful teaching.
“The role of Rector offers great opportunity to convene discussions on the most effective ways of advancing the university, its staff and students and to promote mutual understanding in the exchange of ideas.”
The university has described Fanshawe as “a consultant and practitioner in the field of diversity, author, broadcaster and activist.”
Fanshawe was one of the co-founders of LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall, which aims to cultivate “a world where all LGBTQ+ people are free to be themselves and we can live our lives to the full.”
However, he left the organisation after he claimed that Stonewall had become a “propaganda machine”, preaching “divisive gender ideology” and helped found the LGB Alliance later that same year.
LGB Alliance aims to assert “the right of lesbians, bisexuals and gay men to define themselves as same-sex attracted,” as they argue this right is threatened by “attempts to introduce confusion between biological sex and the notion of gender.”
Edinburgh Academics for Academic Freedom, a group previously criticised by staff and students at the university for platforming the “transphobic” Adult Human Female documentary, said Fanshawe “will be terrific in the role”.
In a post on Twitter/X, the group stated:
The university Rector presides over the University of Edinburgh’s most powerful decision-making body, the University Court.
According to the university, the Rector is supposed to “ensure all voices are heard in making important decisions that affect students and staff.”
Responding to the appointment of Fanshawe, Leigh Chalmers, the university’s Vice-Principal and Secretary, said:
“We look forward to working with Simon as the next Rector of the University of Edinburgh and we thank Debora for her service.”
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