string(9) "edinburgh"

Edinburgh University students can vote tonight to call for Sir Peter Mathieson’s resignation

The student council vote will take place today at 6pm on Microsoft Teams today

Today, on Thursday 30th November, University of Edinburgh students will have the opportunity to vote for a motion that would require the Edinburgh University Student’s Association (EUSA) to formally call for Sir Peter Mathieson’s resignation.

The Student Council will host the meeting between 6pm and 8pm on Microsoft Teams with the proposed matters for discussion including student grants and student community spaces, alongside the vote of no confidence against the Vice Principal.

The motion was proposed by HCA Undergraduate Representative Sam Marks and supported by 20 student signatures. It was published in the Student Council’s Draft Agenda and Papers, which can be read here.

Whilst EUSA does not have the power to force Sir Peter Mathieson to resign, they can formally announce that they no longer hold confidence in Mathieson and the university’s senior management.

The motion also calls for EUSA to denounce both Sir Peter Mathieson’s salary, as well as the salary of many other of the university’s senior management; call for equitable pay for university staff, oppose the university’s subsidisation of Mathieson’s living expenses and for students to have an annual vote on the values that senior staff members should exhibit whilst working at the university.

The Staff Student Solidarity Network Edinburgh posted to their Instagram yesterday, encouraging students to vote.

via @ssn_edi on Instagram

Students will be able to participate in this vote by joining the MS teams link for the student council meeting, through their student Microsoft accounts. This meeting can be accessed here.

These calls come after many years of considerable backlash from students and extensive strikes from university staff protesting against Mathieson and other senior officials of the University of Edinburgh’s management. Last year, Mathieson’s salary was £406,000 and a bill for maintaining his house expenses was up £26,065 from the year before, amid staff striking over being unable to afford to support themselves during the cost of living crisis.

The Edinburgh Tab also revealed that he spent £13,000 on business class flights in 2022, that were all subsidised by student fees.

The result of this vote will be released after this meeting this evening.

The Sabbatical Officer Team for EUSA commented: “The submission of the ‘University Management Accountability and Vote of No Confidence’  motion has created space for discussion of an issue which is important to many of our student members.  

“It’s important to us that students understand the process behind Student Council, and what actions follow the passing of any motion. Once a motion passes at Student Council, it needs to be ratified by Association Executive, a body which comprises of the five Sabbatical Officers. Here, the Officers – supported by relevant Students’ Association staff – discuss how to implement the motion, and whether there are any risks – including legal, financial, and reputational – which might limit the implementation.

“Association Executive’s goal is always to implement motions as fully as possible, within these limitations, and under the Democratic Regulations. Motions which cannot be implemented may be referred back to Student Council for further discussion. The implementation of motions which are ratified will always be done in partnership with the motion proposer, as well as other interested students. 

“Should this motion pass at Student Council on the 30th of November, it would be discussed at the next meeting of Association Executive on the 7th of December. 

“Student Council is the Students’ Association’s democratic decision-making body, and sets the political policy of the Students’ Association, shaping the work of the Sabbatical Officer team. As the Students’ Association is a separate organisation from the University, we cannot control its actions , but we can – and do – engage in effective lobbying to ensure students’ voices are heard.”

The University of Edinburgh declined to comment.