Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Victoria University has a New Chancellor

Following hot on the heals of Pat Walsh's appointment as Vice Chancellor next year, the Victoria University Council voted out sitting Chancellor Rosemary Barrington, in favour of Emeritus Professor Tim Beaglehole, and appointed (unopposed) Wellington City Chouncillor Ian McKinnon Pro Chancellor. It was my first University Council meeting (I was only an observer), and not one that I will forget in a hurry.

The election of new officers for 2005 was the first item on the agenda. It was announced that there were two nominations for Chancellor; Barrington and Beaglehole. Ballot papers were handed out by Deputy Vice Chancellor David MacKay and Council Secretary Christine Turner (who, evidently, reads my blog). Everyone filled out there papers and folded them up, and THEN the candidates spoke to their nominations (a little messed up, if you ask me).

Beaglehole (son of the great JC Beaglehole) spoke briefly that there was a lack of leadership on council and that it was time for a change. Barrington followed (at length) about how it was disappointing that she was opposed at all (ain't democracy a bitch?), and that it was dangerous to change Chancellor and Vice Chancellor in the same year.

The votes were cast, and Beaglehole won. Barrington resigned the Chair to Pro Chancellor Sharn Stevens (who is heading for Mongloia next year).

To be honest, the change doesn't mean much for students. The Chancellor is merely a figure head for the University Council; the real power lies with the Vice Chancellor. Barrington wasn't particularly student-friendly, but there is very little to indicate that Beaglehole will be any different.

Both Barrington and Beaglehole are past VUWSA exec members; Beaglehole was on exec 1952-1954, while Barrington was Women's Vice President in 1968 (on the same exec as Sue Kedgley).

The official Victoria University press statement is here, and Amanda Hill's take on it is here.
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