Oxford University Shelves Plans To Vet Candidates Vying For Chancellor Position

Oxford University Shelves Plans To Vet Candidates Vying For Chancellor Position

By Gavin Mackintosh-

The University of Oxford has shelved plans to vet candidates vying to become its Chancellor after a slew of accusations from ministers the institution was trying to “stitch up” the process in order to stop another white male politician entering the role.

Oxford officials would have been given the power to disqualify candidates who put themselves forward for the election – which is voted on by Oxford graduates – but the university is walking back from these plans in a U-turn set to be announced later today, the Times revealed.

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The institution has also ditched proposals that any vetting committee would work with “due regard to the principles of equality and diversity” when weighing up would-be Chancellors

The idea had been to address concerns that ethnic minority candidates were being marginalised

The university was today asked by The Eye Of Media whether there have been complaints that some ethnic minorities who had been vying for the post felt marginalised by the process

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Senior government ministers had slated the to-be-shelved plans as “wokeism gone mad” and accused university officials of attempting to install their own choice of candidates – and the move is understood to have been maid to allay such concerns.

Neil O’Brien, Tory MP for Harborough, claimed Oxford seemed intent on “imposing an eastern bloc-style managed democracy” in which only a small group of officials would be able to decide who “if anyone, is allowed to go forward for election”.

Critics have also said the outgoing plans represented attempts by university bigwigs to install a more “modern” candidate as Chancellor – which, since 1715, is a role that has been held by male former politicians.

The university’s current Chancellor – a ceremonial role – is currently Chris Patten, Baron Patten of Barnes, the 28th and final Governor of Hong Kong, while figures including Sir Tony Blair and Theresa May have been discussed potential successors.

The original draft of the now-ditched rules, published in March, said a Chancellor’s election committee, made up of senior university staff, 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”.

Oxford University has not stated why it made reference to equality and diversity issues in terms of whether there are potential candidates who have in past times felt marginalised due to equality reasons.

Sources  have told this publication that there were concerns that an ethnic vice chancellor could cave to pressure from lobby groups to compromise entry requirements to allow more candidates from ethnic backgrounds to enter the university on the grounds of ethnic and diversity principles.

Critics fear such moves could perpetuate the very principles of discrimination they seek to address if pupils are allowed preferential treatment in gaining admission to the prestige university.

A spokesperson from the Office Of Standards told The Eye Of Media that Oxford University is part of ‘ that sets an access and participation plan’ that sets out steps it will take to improve diversity, taking into account ‘contextual information’.

If for example, a student who has been in care achieved two A stars and a B, the university would be expected to take the fact they are disadvantaged, having been in care.

‘However, we have no say on which candidates they make exception for to fulfil their obligations under the action participation scheme’.

Further concerns have been raised about whether the selection process for next vice chancellor will be deliberately positioned to favour an ethnic minority applicant, or to exclude applicants that fall under this group.

The correct expectation is for the applicant with the highest credentials and suitability for the post to be selected.

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