Scandal of the rigged election

Isn’t it lovely when a plan comes together? It can also be marvellous when plans crumble to dust. I did take a certain malicious glee in reading in higher education’s trade paper THE how Cardiff University’s efforts to appoint a new Chancellor ended in disaster.

Perhaps in an attempt to be hip and trendy, the management wanted aging TV comedian Griff Rhys Jones to take on this largely ceremonial post from Nobel prizewinning scientist Sir Martin Evans. They put out a press release with pictures of the celebrity in the gown of office. The thing is, they didn’t wait for the official approval of the largely ceremonial university court, a gathering of academics and other members of the great and the good. And the court said no.

The vice-chancellor’s office seemed to have “just decided Griff Rhys Jones was a good bloke,” according to Professor Brian Ford, angry that the ‘election’ had been presented as a fair accompli. He went on to suggest that Mr Rhys Jones’ ITV show It’s Be Alright in the Night, a compilation of TV bloopers, was an apt metaphor for the affair. The proposal has now been sent back to the university council for “reconsideration.”

Academics are wonderful people, underestimate them at your peril. I know, I work with many. They can be infuriating but they are frequently right.

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