Saturday, 22 May 2010

Decision to submit Grace now in the Reporter

Council's decision to submit the 50 member Grace, previously noted here, is now the Reporter:

This decision of the Council to do the right thing and submit this matter to the vote of the Regent House must be welcomed. Welcome also is the Council statement that it is "grateful to members of the Regent House and others who have commented in the Discussion". The objectors are also grateful ....for the Council's return to constitutional rectitude. But eloquent as the remarks made at the Discussion were and persuasive as the almost unanimous condemnation of the Council's actions were, the decisive rejection of the Statute U Graces gave Council an unwelcome taste of defeat....and that surely concentrated the collective mind.

But has the Council returned to constitutional rectitude? It gives as its reason for submitting the Grace "the level of interest expressed in this matter is such that it would be appropriate for the initiated Grace itself now to be voted upon and the Council is therefore submitting it". 79 members of the Regent House initiated this Grace; and 50 members is all that is required for the Grace to be submitted. That is all the Statutes require. Any level of interest above 50 is irrelevant to the question of whether the Grace is submitted. This reason for submitting the Grace is as rubbish as the reason given earlier by Council for declining to submit it - ie we disagree with the Grace because it would be awfully expensive. Council does not have an unfettered discretion to submit or withold Graces as it sees fit.

Anyway the focus now shifts to the ballot. Who know how the Regent House will vote but at least the objectors have already succeeded in securing a ballot. The deadline for flysheets is the 10th of June.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Council backs down: the Regent House Grace will be put

At its meeting yesterday (17th March 2010) Council backed down and abandoned its Report recommedning that the Regent House Grace was not submitted to the Regent House.

This is a triumph for the Constitution of the University in which the Regent House is the governing body. The majority of Council's shenanigans were an attempt to avoid facing the Regent House on this issue. That attempt should never have been made and was doomed to failure. None the less, we should welcome the Council's return to rectitude and constituionalism. A word of thanks is also due to all who spoke at the Discussion against the Report with such eloquence.

So now the the Grace will be put. It reads:

That all construction works for a lift into the Regent House Combination Room be removed and the building returned to its former state, and that the Council report, as soon as convenient, to the Regent House with proposals to secure reasonable access to the Combination Room and associated rooms for those unable to use the stairs.

Of course, due to its delay the Council now presents us with a fait accompli and money will be wasted in removing the fait accompli. Will the Regent House, none the less, force it to be removed. We shall see. But at least it will be the Regent House that will decide.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

What the fuss is all about

This is the republication of an earlier post for readers who start at the top of the blog

The print to the left shows the room as it should be with its elegant structure and form unbroken. Note the 15th century hammer beam roof and the pargetted ceiling. The photo below has the lift sketched in on the dais; it destroys the symmetry of the far end of the room and will dominate the room. Especially since the entrance is just to the left of the lift, the lift will lurk over everyone who enters the room.

Council decisively defeated in ballot

Readers may be intersted to know that Council has been decisively defeated in the ballot on Redundancy, Discipline and Grievance procedures. The precise result was Grace One placet 491, non-placet 1119; Grace Two placet 625, non-placet 988. The Regent House has spoken. The result was unsurprising. Apart from the widespread view that these reforms were a "Trojan Horse" that would remove important safeguards, the whole reform process was mishandled with lack of clarity over where the proposals came from when they "emerged" and the usual disdain for Regent House opinion in their formation. Perhaps this dose of humble pie will prove educational.

It may be that this defeat will contribute to a collapse in Council's determination to submit a Grace seeking approval for its decision not to submit the 50 member Grace. And it will instead do what it should have done months ago: Submit the 50 member Grace. We shall see...

Discussion in the Reporter

Readers of this blog may be interested to know that the Report of the Discussion on the Council's Report recommending that the 50 member Grace be not put to the Regent House (what a mounthful) is now in the Reporter (see The "lift" Discussion is the third Report discussed so it starts a little way down the page. There are several valuable speeches not previously posted here (because the authors did not consent). Note particularily the speeches by Drs Wimbush, Bampos and Cowley (the last two being members of Council).

Monday, 3 May 2010

Dr P A Linehan's Remarks

We are regularly warned these days of difficult times in store. In years to come administrators who make a mess of things will be only too anxious to continue stumbling on into the Valley of Death on the grounds that the expense of doing otherwise would be even more damaging. And they will be able to point to the present case as precedent.

The determination with which the Council has welded itself to this confounded lift is scandalous: no less so indeed than its high-handed readiness to ride roughshod over our – and their – rules and regulations.

The Council’s appetite for government by decree is now well whetted. Members of the Regent House will need to keep a close eye on the development of the present issue. Either that, or to resign themselves to waking up one fine day to find the University being ruled by emergency legislation of the Council’s own devising.

All that is needed is for enough good men to remain silent.