Oxford Has No Confidence (and Also No Power)

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Oxford professors have recently issued a “no confidence” vote about, well, the government of Great Britain. According to an article by Simon Baker in Times Higher Education:

Academics at the University of Oxford have voted through a motion of “no confidence” in David Willetts [right], the universities and science minister.

Following a debate in congregation – Oxford’s “parliament of dons” – 283 people voted in favour of a motion, known as a resolution, instructing the university’s council to “communicate to government that the University of Oxford has no confidence in the policies of the minister for higher education”.

In December the House of Commons passed a bill, supported by the government of Prime Minister David Cameron, to almost triple tuition at British universities. The president of the Oxford University Student Union, David Barclay, said, “Today the call has gone out loud and clear that neither students nor academics will accept the market agenda that this government is trying to rush through.”

Well actually they will be accepting the agenda, because they have no choice.

A “no confidence” vote by a faculty body about the policies of the government is not nearly as important as a no confidence vote about say, the policies of a university administrator, which could conceivably lead to his resignation. The government has passed legislation already so the issue seems essentially closed.

Willetts, incidentally, went to Oxford, as did Cameron.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer