NUS Scotland calls on MSPs to reform how universities are run

Friday 15-01-2016 - 15:47

“Thursday’s vote on Higher Education Governance Bill is a chance to shake up the status quo”

“Support moves to reverse the trend of an increasingly managerial and top-down style of governance”

"It’s fundamental that staff and students have a voice and a say at every level of decision making.”


Before Thursday's stage one debate on the Higher Education Governance Bill in the Scottish Parliament, NUS Scotland urged MSPs to vote in favour of the bill. In a briefing to MSPs, NUS Scotland urged MSPs to support the general principles of the Bill at stage 1—and the opportunities it presents to ensure greater transparency, accountability and democracy—while setting out areas where we believe it could be strengthened further at later stages.

Commenting, Emily Beever, NUS Scotland Women’s Officer, said:

“NUS Scotland and students have been campaigning for years to ensure our universities are governed in a progressive and principled way, and this Bill provides a big opportunity to take that campaign one step further. The Bill has rightly been welcomed by staff and student unions as a way to ensure greater accountability, transparency, and democracy, and finally shake up the status quo.

“Scottish universities aren’t big businesses, serving shareholders and being run from behind closed doors, they’re publicly funded charities who should be serving the best interests of their staff and students. That’s why we support moves to reverse the trend we’ve seen of an increasingly managerial and top-down style of governance, and start putting more of a say back in the hands of staff and students. If we truly want to see our institutions run in the best interest of staff and students, it’s fundamental that we ensure they have a voice and a say at every level of decision making.

“We would urge all MSPs to support the general principles of the Bill, and the proposed changes should be recognised as a positive step towards increased transparency and accountability, and a stronger voice for staff and students. We now look forward to working with all parties involved to make sure that the final legislation is as strong as possible. At the same time, we also need to ensure university decision making reflects the diverse communities they serve, and that senior-level pay doesn’t continue to spiral ever higher, while lecturing and support staff struggle on and students feel the effects. We’ll be continuing that campaign as the Bill makes its way through Parliament.”


NUS Scotland

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