• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Why your vote for Rector matters

ByMichael Heffernan

Feb 14, 2024
Peter McColl lifted on a chair seat by students

Since original publication, only one valid nomination was received by the deadline of 5 February. In accordance with the regulations governing the election process, Simon Fanshawe has been named as Rector uncontested. As such, an election is not taking place.

It’s almost time for the election of the University of Edinburgh’s rector. With the main job of the rector being to chair the University Court, essentially the board of directors but for a university, this election is a key chance for students to send someone who will fight for them to the heart of the University’s decision-making.

Despite having that key role, it’s fair to say the role doesn’t seem to garner much attention for action taken for students. Perhaps that’s why in one election, a mere 26% of students bothered to turn out to vote.

That turnout level is a real shame, since University Court does have some real powers to support better education at the University. For instance, after a campaign from our fellow student rag, The Gaudie and others, the University of Aberdeen was forced by its Court to reduce the scale of its cuts to their Modern Languages Department. Aberdeen’s University Court also required the University of Aberdeen to divest from fossil fuels, so we can tell that under good stewardship, a University Court can make a difference!

Perhaps what we really need is another rector from the student movement. Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, during his time at Edinburgh made waves by being the first student rector. He focused on helping working class students at the University, an issue that has re-emerged in importance with the cost of living crisis and the cuts to financial aid to Widening Participation students. 

In these toughest of times for Edinburgh’s students, can students afford not to use their votes for a new hope?

Peter McColl Installed as Rector” by Ric Lander is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.