We were disturbed by the recent coverage of the AUT election for a new general secretary ("AUT chief race 'rigged'", THES , December 14).
The AUT has used the same rules for electing a general secretary since 1992. In this year's election we were involved in the procedure as members of the shortlisting panel.
The official candidate route allows the union to invite applicants to the election from the widest possible background, including individuals from outside the AUT.
By employing this procedure the union was able to judge each candidate against the job description for the position and ensure that the final choice was able to compete with the best in the entire trade union movement, not just in higher education.
Each of us served in this selection process, not as members of the executive, but as ordinary members elected from the AUT council. The successful official candidate was chosen after a rigorous and open process of interviews, written exercises, tests on management skills and an interview before the entire executive. Now that an official candidate has been chosen they still face an election among all the membership.
Institute of Education