Elected chairs

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Anent the discussions over the selection of the chairs of university courts (Letters, 23 January), it should not be forgotten that the four ancient universities already have elected chairs in the person of the rector.

St Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen rectors are elected solely by students, while the Edinburgh incumbent is chosen by students and staff.

The right of students to choose the chair of court goes back well over a century, despite being challenged by the occasional maverick principal. It is fervently to be hoped that the centralising-prone Scottish 
Government has no plans to take it away. True, there is sometimes a difficulty when an absentee rector is elected, as is currently the case at Glasgow.

At the moment, the deputy chair of court is the principal. However, there is an alternative possibility in the person of the rector’s assessor. Provided the rector’s assessor is elected by the students, as already happens at St Andrews, this would maintain the principle of an elected chair and the problem would be solved.

Maybe this is a model which could be followed by the more modern establishments.

Jane Ann Liston

Largo Road

St Andrews