Mandam Deputy Vice-Chancellor,
Whatever one may feel about the merits or demerits of the construction of a
modern-style lift in a historic building in order to comply with the requirements of the Disabilities Discrimination Act, the issue at hand today is not to argue such points. Nor is it, even, to complain that the consent of Regent House was not sought before such potentially-controversial buildingworks were begun.
What *is* the issue at hand is that Council deemed it appropriate to use its somewhat dubiously gained powers to reject the opportunity of a ballot on a Grace signed by more than the requisite 50 members of Regent House -- that is, to deny the members of the Regent House their constitutional democratic rights.
Furthermore it appears that this whole matter appears to have become so emotionally entangled as to have been regarded as a motion of confidence (if the Regent House's Statutory rights were denied) or no-confidence (if they were asserted) in the current Vice-Chancellor.
This is simply not acceptable. It exemplifies exactly *why* having such a democratic system of governance is not only preferable, but absolutely necessary. Without the necessity of having even to listen to other dissenting points of view, much less take them into account when forming policy, the University becomes much more susceptible to being swayed by every passing fad and fashion. Emotive arguments (such as motions of no-confidence) play no part in the smooth running of a University expected to carry on at the forefront of knowledge for the foreseeable future. And running rough-shod over the Statutes will not go unnoticed. Even in Oxbridge.