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The Council have considered the remarks made at the Discussion of this Report on 3 March 1998 (Reporter, p. 496). They have noted the wide range of opinions expressed and the various suggestions put forward as alternatives to the proposals contained in the Report.
The Council note the arguments employed by those who were critical of the proposals, but they do not consider that it would be profitable to respond to those arguments in detail; in their view the critics have failed to address the fundamental point made in the Report, viz. that the present arrangements cause offence to many members of the Regent House who hold doctorates of other universities, by giving the impression that the University regards non-Cambridge doctorates as inferior to Cambridge doctorates. As regards the alternative suggestions put forward, the Council do not believe that these would be an improvement on the present arrangements; in their view a more liberal policy for the award of Cambridge degrees (either under Statute B, III, 6 or under Statute B, III, 7), as suggested by Mr Milner and Dr Horton, or the grant of something that would amount to Ph.D. status, as suggested by Dr Morley, would not remove the perceived offence.
The Council feel obliged to comment on a point raised by two speakers in the Discussion who suggested that the gowns now worn by the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Vice-Chancellors on ceremonial occasions constitute an improper form of dress since they are not sanctioned by Ordinance. These gowns were introduced recently, following the precedent set by the Chancellor; the gown currently worn by the Chancellor at the Honorary Degree Congregation was made for Earl Baldwin when he occupied the office of Chancellor in the 1930s, and is understood to be a copy of the gown made for Prince Albert when he became Chancellor in 1847. Since 1847 at least it has been customary for the Chancellor to wear a gown not sanctioned by Ordinance, rather than the gown appropriate to his degree, and the Council think it entirely proper that the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Vice-Chancellors should follow the same convention.
Mr Milner noted that the Deputy High Steward was omitted from the list of officers to whom the proposed dispensation would not apply. The Council have agreed to remedy this oversight and to modify the recommendations of their Report accordingly. They have also agreed, in response to a point made by Dr Horton, to extend the proposed dispensation so as to include the holders of CNAA degrees. Proposed Regulation 4 has accordingly been amended so as to read:
4. Notwithstanding the foregoing regulations, on the occasions specified in Regulation 3 any member of the University who holds a degree of another university or degree-awarding institution may wear the academical dress appropriate to that degree; save that this provision shall not apply to the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, the High Steward, the Deputy High Steward, the Commissary, the Proctors, the Registrary, or the Esquire Bedells, or to a deputy for any of those officers, or to any person presenting or being presented for a degree of the University.
The Council are submitting a Grace to the Regent House (Grace 7, p. 583) for the approval of the recommendations of their Report, subject to the modifications mentioned above. They recognize that the issue is controversial, and they consider that it should be settled by a vote of the Regent House; they have therefore determined, in accordance with Regulation 7 of the regulations for Graces and Congregations of the Regent House (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 113), that a vote will be taken on the Grace by ballot.
27 April 1998
|ALEC N. BROERS, Vice-Chancellor||A. L. R. FINDLAY||PENNY PEREIRA|
|T. S. ADKINS||DAVID HARRISON||SANDRA RABAN|
|MARTIN BOBROW||BRIAN F. G. JOHNSON||DAVID M. THOMPSON|
|SARAH BONNETT||ANNE LONSDALE||DANIEL B. WAGGONER|
|TERENCE ENGLISH||ONORA O'NEILL||JOAN M. WHITEHEAD|
The Registrary will arrange for the printing and circulation of any fly-sheet, signed by ten or more members of the Regent House, which reaches him by 1 p.m. on Wednesday, 13 May. Fly-sheets must bear, in addition to the signatures, the names and initials (in block capitals) of the signatories (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 117). Voting papers and fly-sheets will be distributed to all members of the Regent House on or before Tuesday, 26 May; the last date for the return of voting papers will be Friday, 5 June.
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