Written by Toby Cray
Students at the University of Leicester voted overwhelmingly, by 116 to 6, in favour of holding a referendum with regard to a vote of no confidence in the Vice Chancellor and the Executive Board, at a student council meeting on Tuesday 2nd February.
The university faced widespread criticism at the meeting, with no one speaking against the motion.
Rhiannon Jenkins (3rd year, English), who led the motion, criticised the disinvestment proposals by stating: “We believe that this is a completely abhorrent thing to do, not only in the middle of the pandemic, but also in general.”
The motion was brought to the student council by the Students Against Redundancies group, coming just over a year since Nishan Canagarajah, the Vice Chancellor, took over the role.
Rhiannon hopes that passing a vote of no confidence will make a difference, stating: “What we are hoping is that it proves to the university that they actually have to sit down shut up and listen to what students are saying.
“It is basically demonstrating that students don’t believe in the chancellor at the moment and we want more effective change.”
David Harvie, Leicester UCU communications officer, responded to the motion by stating: “We have been moved by the groundswell of support from students that’s already been expressed.”
Staff at the university have faced abuse and death threats online, after the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph have used the language of decolonisation to attack the university.
Chris McGarry, a student who spoke at the meeting, stated: “I think that we should strongly condemn the university for misusing and abusing the concept of decolonisation in attempt to further their redundancy plans.”
The motion also criticised the communication over the safety net, the false promises of the Ignite programme, the unclear processing of strike refunds, and not addressing the gender pay gap.
The university have said they will give their formal response when the result of the vote is announced publicly.
Toby Cray is a second-year journalism student at the University of Leicester. You can find him on Instagram here: @toby5.c