Top Stories

Oxford University abandons ‘woke’ plan to vet chancellor candidates | Politics | News

Oxford University has dropped its « woke » plans to vet candidates wanting to become its new chancellor.

It comes after senior politicians complained, saying it was trying to « stitch up » the process so another white male would not get the job.

According to The Times, the university is set to announce the U-turn later today (Thursday, May 16).

It means university officials will not be able to disqualify someone who puts themselves forward.

The announcement will reportedly say the stipulation that the vetting committee would have “due regard to the principles of equality and diversity” when deciding who will face the vote from graduates.

Ministers had branded the move « wokeism gone mad », claiming it was a move to install the university’s preferred candidate into the role.

Neil O’Brien, a Conservative MP, claimed the university was intent on “imposing an eastern bloc-style managed democracy” where a small number of people would decide “if anyone, is allowed to go forward for election”.

Concerns were also raised about attempts to install a « modern chancellor ». The role – currently held by former Tory cabinet minister Lord Patten – has been held by male former politicians since 1715.

The university unveiled plans to change the election rules in March. It included a line saying the selection committee would “consider all those [applications] it has received, and, having due regard to the principles of equality and diversity and the approved role specification, determine which candidates are eligible to progress to the next stage of the election process”.

Opponents of the change said it was an attempt to vet candidates senior university staff did not like, while supporters said it meant only suitable candidates would go to the vote.

The new version, The Times says, abandons the criteria and says the selection committee will put anyone forward unless they fall foul of a narrow range of criteria.

These criteria include being a student or employee of the university or being a serving member of an elected legislature such as the House of Commons.

Oxford however claimed it simply « removes ambiguity ».

The position of chancellor, which is largely ceremonial, dates back to 1224. The most important job of the chancellor is to pick the vice-chancellor, the person responsible for day-to-day running of the university.

Former Prime Ministers Sir Tony Blair and Theresa May are said to be inline to replace Lord Patten.

A univeristy spokesman said: “Through the proposed amendment to the regulations, the university council’s intent is to remove any ambiguity and reinforce the intent of the original regulation that the election committee will have no role in the vetting or selection of any nominations for chancellor. Our requirement to comply with the public sector equality duty remains unchanged.”

Source link