In con­fi­dence

THE (Times Higher Education) - - THE POP­PLE­TO­NIAN -

“An ex­cit­ing new op­por­tu­nity!” That was how one of our lead­ing bra­zier stok­ers, Mr Ted Odgers of the Depart­ment of Me­dia and Cul­tural Stud­ies, re­acted to the news that staff at the Open Univer­sity had over­whelm­ingly sup­ported a mo­tion declar­ing “no con­fi­dence” in their vice-chan­cel­lor.

“For many years,” Mr Odgers told The Pop­ple­to­nian, “aca­demics on this cam­pus have won­dered how they might ad­dress the sheer in­ep­ti­tude of their very own vice-chan­cel­lor. A va­ri­ety of strate­gies have been con­sid­ered. But many of these, in­clud­ing a pro­posal to dis­able the brakes on his chauf­feured Mercedes and smug­gle nox­ious chem­i­cals into his pri­vate drinks cup­board, have been voted down be­cause of their du­bi­ous le­gal­ity. But now, hey presto, the staff at the OU have shown us the way ahead. We sim­ply as­sem­ble ev­ery­one and vote over­whelm­ingly in favour of a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion.”

How­ever, Jamie Tar­gett, our Di­rec­tor of Cor­po­rate Af­fairs, has is­sued the fol­low­ing warn­ing about the con­cep­tual prob­lems of fol­low­ing in the steps of the OU.

“Any vote of no con­fi­dence in a serv­ing vice-chan­cel­lor nec­es­sar­ily pre­sup­poses that hav­ing con­fi­dence in one’s vice-chan­cel­lor is the nat­u­ral state of af­fairs in mod­ern British uni­ver­si­ties. But even the most cur­sory ex­am­i­na­tion of our own vicechan­cel­lor’s record in of­fice shows that he has never re­garded the en­joy­ment of staff con­fi­dence as part of his job de­scrip­tion. In these cir­cum­stances, a vote of no con­fi­dence in his lead­er­ship would be as in­ap­pro­pri­ate as ex­press­ing a lack of con­fi­dence in Sir Philip Green’s man­age­ment of BHS.”

An­other ‘no-con­fi­dence’ mo­tion goes through

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