Elect Our VCs Campaign: #WeAreTheUniversity

To members and friends of CDBU,

Please consider supporting this campaign which demands elected VCs at our universities and a return to true self-governance.


Historically, universities have elected leaders to represent their communities at the levels of Heads, Deans and Vice-Chancellor. Across Europe, Latin America and beyond universities still value the democratic election of leaders as a means of assuring accountability and representativeness of and for their community of scholars. 

In Britain, these forms of democratic accountability have been stripped away, resulting in a range of institutional and sectoral failures, most recent during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Having consulted with academics and staff, the Elect Our VCs campaign has identified a majority of respondents support the election of Vice Chancellors over existing procedures.

Accordingly, we, the undersigned commit ourselves to pursuit of the following agenda: 

We will Elect our University Leadership

  • We will begin discussions of formal arrangements for election of members of the university community for leadership positions.
  • We will formally submit motions to recognise these elections via existing representative fora.
  • We will provide new fora where necessary to co-develop our plans for the future 

A Return to Universities’ Original Charters and Statutes 

  • Freedom of Information requests will be submitted to universities to seek documentation of changes made to Charters, Statutes and Ordinances to determine what, if any, of such changes were warranted.
  • Those changes deemed necessary by the university community can be amended via the original chartered processes.  
  • If necessary, for example, in universities where academics, staff and students are not invested with decision-making power in statute, these should be introduced moving forward.

A Cross-Party Political Campaign for to Restore Academic Decision-Making in Universities

  • We will work together with government and opposition parties, across both houses of parliament to reform university governance, including regulations directly or indirectly restricting such autonomy within Office for Students, Department of Education, BEIS and related bodies.
  • We do not presume these issues are equivalent across the four nations, and would specify those differences as relevant in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England. 
  • We will work most closely with local and regional politicians and communities to re-embed university self-governance, culture and activities in these local communities.

And, more to be determined through ongoing consultation across our community.

To support this campaign, please sign the open letter here.