The Corner

Tradition Upheld in Oxford

Clinging valiantly to 900 years of tradition and rejecting Blairite managerialism, the “dons” (small-p professors) of Oxford University have voted down plans to “modernize” the university’s government:

In what amounts to a crushing blow for John Hood, the Vice-Chancellor, the academics voted by a massive majority against his amended Governance White Paper…

Sitting on his gilded throne, flanked by purple-robed proctors and the silver staff-wielding bedels, Dr Hood sat passively, as fellow after fellow took up the attack.

Mr Bamforth called on Congregation to reject the proposals as they would not bring more sovereignty, but would “reduce the number of directly elected members on key decision-making bodies”. He said: “There are plenty of things that are wrong with the university’s present administrative processes. But these are best resolved by administrative reform, not by the wholesale ripping up of our present constitution,” he said.

Dr Hood had recommended ending 900 years of self-rule by creating a board of directors with a majority of externally appointed members to approve the budget and oversee the running of the university. He had argued that his reforms would improve accountability and transparency and were crucial to Oxford retaining its international dominance.

Hmmm.  Ripping up a constitution to solve administrative problems.  Where have I heard that before?


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