Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6524

Wednesday 31 October 2018

Vol cxlix No 6

pp. 86–104

Fly-sheets reprinted

Fly-sheets relating to the ballot on Grace 1 of 27 June 2018 and on an amendment (Faculty membership criterion)

In accordance with the Council's Notice on Discussions and Fly-sheets (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 110), the fly-sheets from the ballot on Grace 1 of 27 June 2018 and an amendment (Faculty membership criterion) are reprinted below. Fly‑sheets are reprinted in the order in which they appeared in the ballot booklet, which was random. For the result of the ballot, see p. 94.

Voting Rights Flysheet: Grace 1 of 27 June 2018

We ask all Regents to oppose the Council’s amendment to the Grace, under which many research staff who are already members of the Regent House will be deprived of their membership and stripped of the right to vote.

For example, of the 56 research associates already at the Computer Laboratory in September 2018, and who can now vote, 30 will lose that right from October 2019 if the amendment is passed. We don’t know exactly how many new hires will also be affected, but if the amendment were to come into force at once, then 42 RAs would be disenfranchised – three-quarters of the total.

And this will happen because the Computer Laboratory is inclusive: all RAs and SRAs automatically become members of the Faculty of Computer Science and Technology, so they all become members of the Regent House.

The nearby Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology is not under any Faculty, so its research staff have long been included by default. There, too, RAs and SRAs hired since October 2015 will lose the vote if the Council’s amendment goes through.

Other departments where RAs hired after October 2015 will lose the vote include Engineering, Land Economy, Criminology, CRASSH, HPS, the Language Centre, the Sainsbury Lab, the Stem Cell Institute, the Gurdon Institute, the Systems Biology Centre, CISL and the new Toxicology Unit. As well as the Council’s amendment disenfranchising staff already in post, new hires from November 2018 won’t get to vote until October 2022. Across the University, it will exclude between a half and three-quarters of our research staff.

Grace 1 of 27 June 2018 is the way forward. It will extend the inclusive approach to all. But the Council’s amendment will impose an arbitrary three­to-four year delay; hundreds of existing Regents will be kicked out.

In some cases the right to vote will have been mentioned to new hires as they decided to work here, so their employment rights will be infringed. And the requirement that the qualification period be continuous will discriminate against staff who take a career break – with women likely to suffer most.

Cambridge must extend the franchise to all postdoctoral research workers, as inclusive faculties already do. It must not expel existing members of our governing body and it must not discriminate against women.

The undersigned members of affected institutions urge Regents to vote in favour of the Grace by ranking it first and to rank the Council’s amendment last. This will protect the rights of our junior colleagues.

R. J. Anderson

S. B. Holden

P. Robinson

A. R. Beresford

A. J. Hutchings

S. J. Schaffer

D. J. Berry

G. C. Jenkinson

M. A. Scott

A. F. Blackwell

T. M. Jones

P. M. Sewell

R. W. H. Bricheno

J. A. Langley

S. P. Skorobogatov

A. P. Caines

I. J. Lewis

S. J. Smith

R. P. G. Carter

D. W. Mcbride

J. Q. Stafford-Fraser

G. M. Cronin

M. M. Mahmoud-Anis

C. A. Stewart

J. A. Crowcroft

A. L. Milroy

S. H. Teufel

S. Cummins

A. W. Moore

D. R. Thomas

V. H. Everett

R. M. Mortier

A. B. Turner

F. A. N. Finch

R. D. Mullins

J. Warbrick

A. Franceschini

A. Mycroft

R. N. M. Watson

R. C. Franklin

E. T. Napierala

D. J. Wischik

N. J. Gay

C. M. Nightingale

J. D. Woodruff

G. D. Goodrick

R. M. Norton-Wright

J. M. Wyburd

L. M. Gough

S. M. Oosthuizen

E. Yoneki

T. G. Griffin

R. B. Pettit

J. A. Zeitler

K. Gudka

A. C. Rice

FLYSHEET: Grace 1 of 27 June 2018 (Faculty membership criterion)

The composition of the Regent House is important in determining the future of decision-making by our university.

Currently, faculty membership is so variably applied across the university that it is inherently unfair. Some Faculties now grant membership to all Senior Research Associates, Research Associates, Computer Associates and various other roles; others grant membership only to those who contribute significantly to teaching, or by virtue of seniority of role. This variability excludes some groups of staff who have demonstrated a high level of commitment to the organisation in some Schools, while in others, it automatically enfranchises others whose focus is quite rightly on their research and teaching career development. We agree that an alternative needs to be found.

However, simply abolishing the Faculty membership criterion without providing an alternative will mean that the stewardship of the University will no longer be in the majority hands of those with a demonstrable commitment to the University, because of the enormous expansion of grant-based, fixed term early-career researcher cohort, particularly in the biomedical sciences. UK science funding is responsible for this, not the university.

We believe that the amendment, which would replace the highly inequitable Faculty membership rule with a qualifying period of service, is preferable for several reasons.

The introduction of a qualifying period is designed to maximise the capacity of the Regent House to determine the best interests of the university. It better empowers those who are likely to make a contribution. It also avoids a further skew of membership from the arts to the sciences. It does not exclude part time staff, nor those taking parental or care leave, as has been rumoured.

Regent engagement is far less full than it could be, and this issue needs working on, but simply adding well over 2000 new Regents is not the answer. We accept that by introducing a three-year rule that will enfranchise a sizable previously-excluded group, some current members may be temporarily removed for a period – but most would be re-entered on the Roll within a year and this simply represents a short-term transitional unevenness.

Who should govern the University? We argue that there have to be qualification criteria, and that the right to determine the University’s long-term future, including its research, teaching and spending priorities should be provided to those staff who have embarked on a longer-term commitment to the University. The qualifying period is not a perfect solution, but is far preferable to the Grace in its original form, as it serves as a proxy for selecting those most likely to have an interest in Cambridge’s particular needs and governance arrangements. It allows the Regent House to be much more inclusive while maintaining a credible balance in its make-up.

We urge you to make the amended version of the Grace your first preference.

D. S. H. Abulafia

J. G. Evans

P. Moore

J. S. Aldred

E. V. Ferran

J. R. Norris

G. P. Allen

J. D. Firth

R. Padman

P. M. Allmendinger

A. L. Fowden

N. Peake

A. G. Artavanis-Tsakonas

G. M. Fraser

G. G. Peng

N. Berloff

R. J. Gilbertson

M. J. Perry

L. M. Biggs

B. B. Groisman

S. T. Richardson

C. J. B. Brookes

J. Hall

D. C. Rubinsztein

M. Burgess

R. D. Hayward

F. J. Russell

T. K. Carne

N. J. Holmes

C. A. Sargent

A. T. Cates

A. S. Jeffrey

H. J. Sharpe

M. E. Cates

P. B. Jones

G. C. S. Smith

C.-C. P. Caulfield

F. E. Karet

S. Smith

D. J. Cheesman

A. P. Kelly

H. E. Thompson

S. J. Cowley

R. R. Kerswell

C. A. Tout

P. F. Chinnery

I. B. Leader

S. Weller

S. J. Cowley

P. J. Lehner

T. L. Williams

C. M. Crump

A. M. L. Lever

P. M. H. Wilson

S. B. Dalziel

J. R. Lister

M. B. Wingate

J. Danesh

A. W. Mccaskie

D. F. Wood

P. P. D’avino

S. J. Marciniak

M. R. Wormald

A. C. Davis

S. Martin

A. D. Yates

J. A. Dickens

J. M. R. Matheson

S. J. Young

C. J. Edmonds

P. H. Maxwell

S. J. Eglen

T. G. Micklem

Flysheet on Grace 1 of 27 June 2018

On the Membership of the Regent House

We urge you to vote in favour of the Amendment to the Grace.

The aim the Amendment, like that of the original Grace, is to correct an anomaly in membership of the Regent House. The difference between the Amendment and the Grace is how this is achieved and, most importantly, in the resulting size and balance of Regent House.

At present, the Regent House consists of about 1800 academics, 850 academic-related staff, 1300 research staff and 1550 who qualify either as College Fellows/Officers (not employed by the University), or as Affiliated Lecturers, or as members of staff of the Press or Cambridge Assessment. If the unamended Grace were to be approved, about 2100 persons would be newly enfranchised, resulting in research staff being close to, or in, the majority, and further increasing the imbalance in membership between the arts and sciences.

We agree that the current “discipline lottery”, whereby staff in similar roles may or may not be members of Regent House depending on the institution they belong to, needs to be replaced with a consistent verifiable policy. This situation has arisen because Faculties now approach membership in different ways. Some Faculties continue to follow the conventional practice of including as members only those who have significant responsibilities for delivering teaching, or similar, while others have started to grant membership to all those holding the above roles.

Like the original Grace, the Amendment enfranchises all Senior Research Associates, unestablished Lecturers and Affiliated Lecturers; however, it replaces Faculty membership with a 3-year qualifying period for both Research and Computer Associates. The rationale is that we believe that the governance of the University, including responsibility for its teaching, research and finances, should be in the hands of those with at least a medium-term commitment to the University.

The Amendment would result in the membership of the Regent House being more consistent, while maintaining a balance in its composition. Research staff are essential for the robust health of the University, but should they be in a majority in the Regent House, given that approximately half spend less than 3 years working at Cambridge?

We demur from the suggestion that the Amendment introduces illegal discrimination. While it will disenfranchise (from November 2019) some current Regents who have been employed for less than 2 years today, all such persons will be reinstated if they continue to work for the University, in many cases for only 1 further year.

Fundamentally this ballot is about who should govern the University. Short of enfranchising all staff, or maybe all staff and students, there have to be qualification criteria. No straightforward criterion will easily select those individuals with a real interest in, and appreciation of, Cambridge’s long-term needs, but we argue that the qualifying period is a workable and acceptable substitute.

We urge you to vote for the amended version of the Grace as your first preference.

D. S. H. Abulafia

A. L. Greer

S. Martin

L. H. Boyle

N. J. Holmes

M. J. Millett

T. K. Carne

H. E. M. Hunt

M. R. E. Proctor

C.-C. P. Caulfield

J. M. E. Hyland

D. B. Skinner

R. L. C. Charles

R. R. Kerswell

M. C. Smith

S. J. Cowley

H. Laman

C. A. Tout

S. B. Dalziel

I. B. Leader

P. M. H. Wilson

S. J. Eglen

J. R. Lister

M. R. Wormald

T. E. Forster

C. H. Loch

Fly-sheet on Grace 1 of 27 June 2018 (Faculty membership criterion) and amendment

We urge Regents to vote in favour of the original Grace, unamended, and to give lowest preference to the amended form.

The Grace concerns the status afforded to research staff at grade 7, that is, holding a doctorate or equivalent experience. Currently,1 such staff are treated inequitably, by being granted or withheld the Regent House franchise according to arbitrary criteria: whether one is under a Faculty, and if so, which one. The Grace simply removes this link between Faculties’ various membership policies and that of the Regent House. The main effect is that all research staff of grade 7 or above will become Regents, rather than just an arbitrary subset at present.

The issues here reflect wider shifts in academic career structures and funding models. The increasingly thin slicing of research income, by project, inherently favours unestablished positions and bottom-heavy staffing, despite increased overall spend. Few believe this to be a good model. As a leading recipient of research funding, this change affects Cambridge more than most.

We believe there are many good reasons for the Grace, both principled and practical.

On principle: the inequity of the status quo is unacceptable; full enfranchisement is the only option that does not have unacceptable downsides (as we now elaborate).

On principle: it corrects for the gradual erosion of established positions which has already skewed the composition of the Regent House. This is part of the casualisation we see across the Higher Education sector, and is driven in large part by a shift in government policy – specifically the widening imbalance, beginning in the 1980s, within the UK’s ‘dual support’ funding system, whereby core funding has declined significantly relative to project-based grant funding.2 Academic and research positions at grade 7, or its close equivalents predating the single spine, have included University Assistant Lecturers (UALs), Senior Assistants in Research (SARs) and Research Associates.3 Only the latter, being unestablished, have not been fully included in the Regent House, even though both UALs and SARs were frequently of time-limited tenure. It is therefore incorrect to suppose that only ‘long-term’ appointees should be Regents; at no point has this been the rule.

On principle: it complements the increasing inclusion of older Regents, already occurring through elimination of the age limit and increasing inclusion of retirees kept on as Directors of Research. (We have no objection to those changes in themselves.)

In practice: the Regent House will benefit from more eyes and more minds. We live in a time where University business is increasingly adversarial – pitched in an oblique language of public relations, and driven by financial, regulatory or administrative pressures which can be remote from academic needs. This demands ever greater scrutiny, which the present Regent House is ever less successful at providing. The fraction of academic staff who participate in governance is small. Contention rates for elections to both Council and the Board of Scrutiny have fallen, as has participation in Discussions. We believe that including Research Associates stands to improve the functioning of the Regent House, by including a great many staff able to make positive contributions.

In practice: unengaged Regents are benign. Although not everyone newly included by this change will become an engaged citizen, nor do many academics and other existing Regents. Conversely, it is easy to find evidence of already-enfranchised Research Associates contributing positively. This experiment has been running for decades, thanks to the patchy Faculty-by-Faculty enfranchisement, which has been in place since well before 1995. We know no cases of Research Associates doing harm through being ‘prematurely’ enfranchised. It is scaremongering to suggest that unengaged Research Associates will somehow harm the Regent House.

We urge you to give lowest preference to the amended form of the Grace. The Amendment invents an entirely new criterion applying only, arbitrarily, to unestablished staff: years of continuous service. We reject this on several grounds.

On principle: it would disenfranchise many current Regents, chiefly Research Associates at inclusive-policy Faculties with fewer than three years’ continuous service.

On principle: it is unacceptable to require a qualifying period only for one staff group. A plausible intention of this is to include only those who are sufficiently familiar with the University’s ways that they can participate well. But why then should a qualifying period not apply to all? And why must the three years be continuous?

On principle: a qualifying period has been proposed and rejected before, in May 20034. On that occasion only a two-year qualifying period was proposed, but was criticised at Discussion both for its lack of inclusiveness and for its perverse outcomes in many cases. This (and other) dissatisfaction led to an ‘interim’ transcription of the pre-existing clauses from the 1995 Statutes into the new Ordinances, with only minor changes, which has persisted to this day. If any qualifying period is to be imposed, its details must be worked out with great care. It is therefore preferable to reject the Grace wholesale than to accept it in amended form.

In practice: it is perverse to believe a qualifying period would bring net benefit, when the evidence noted above points entirely to the contrary. The Amendment will greatly reduce the pool, while also risking secondary denting of participation – since awakening an interest in governance after three habit-forming years of exclusion is likely more difficult than igniting it in a new appointee.

Our University now has an opportunity to lead from the front, by affording full citizenship to all sufficiently qualified research staff. This is both a positive change in its own right, and an important step in asking many hard questions on whose answers a healthy academic future depends.

We urge you to give highest preference to the unamended Grace, and lowest to its amended form.

R. J. Anderson

A. J. Hutchings

S. Pastrana Portillo

T. D. Bauereiss

A. P. Judson

D. I. Redhouse

A. P. Caines

S. R. Kell

M. A. Scott

S. Cummins

D. Llewellyn-Jones

K. E. Spence

S.-A. Gannon

R. M. Mortier

D. R. Thomas

S. E. Hakenbeck

A. Mycroft



Flysheet on Grace 1 of 27 June 2018 (Faculty membership criterion) and amendment

The current Ordinance on membership of the Regent House is discriminatory because some Faculties currently choose to exclude some otherwise eligible research staff, leading to unequal rights across the University.

The Grace makes research staff members of the Regent House, irrespective of Faculty. The Amendment re-introduces discrimination because it adds a qualifying period of continuous service – but only for some staff. Any qualifying period should apply to all staff, irrespective of their source of funding, or to none at all.

Therefore we, members of the Department of Computer Science and Technology, urge Regents to rank the Grace in its original form first and the Amendment last.

R. J. Anderson

G. C. Jenkinson

D. E. Pounds

A. E. Arcia Moret

B. D. Jones

Z. Shams

T. D. Bauereiss

C. Molina Jimenez

C. A. Stewart

P. Brooks

J. Moore

D. R. Thomas

R. Bukin

E. T. Napierala

G. Titmus

A. P. Caines

R. M. Norton-Wright

A. B. Turner

C. K. Hadley

S. Pastrana Portillo

B. Wang

A. J. Hutchings

L. C. Paulson

M. Wojcik