UCL 'no confidence' vote defeated

A motion of no confidence in University College London provost Malcolm Grant tabled by the institution’s students’ union has been defeated.

January 27, 2012

Students called for the vote in protest at Professor Grant’s support for higher tuition fees and his appointment as chairman of the NHS commissioning board, claiming he has a “track record of actively undermining public services and public funding”.

The decision was condemned by UCL management, which warned that the move could have a “significant impact on our approach to future investment”.

But the motion was rejected by students, it was announced on 26 January.

A total of 1,699 said they had confidence in Professor Grant and 1,185 said they did not. There were 391 abstentions.

A university spokesman said: “UCL welcomes the outcome of the vote announced yesterday by the UCLU.

“UCL is today one of the most popular and respected universities in the UK and internationally.

“Malcolm Grant’s track record of success in leading UCL speaks for itself, and UCL is pressing forward with its ambitious strategy, in line with its mission to be London’s Global University.”

The motion’s organizers have cried foul, claiming a senior university manager sent emails to all UCL students “singing Grant’s praises”.

The email by Rex Knight, vice-provost (operations), had “interfere[d] in the democratic process”, claimed Michael Chessum, the leader of the no-confidence campaign and a UCL undergraduate. He is calling for the union to re-run the ballot.

“It has become clear that some university managers at UCL are using the resources and position of the college in order to protect their own position from criticism”, Mr Chessum said.

The UCL spokesman said: “There was a wide-ranging debate across UCL on the motion in the days leading up to the vote.

“The ‘no’ campaign's views in particular were prominent across campus and online. It doesn't seem unreasonable for the university to contribute to a debate that centred around the record of UCL's provost.

“Students will have been able to make up their own minds based on the range of views expressed during the campaign.”

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

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