Reclaiming Our University is a campaign that welcomes all staff and students at the University of Aberdeen.
The campaign’s aims are:
- To foster free and open debate among staff and students around the purpose, values and ideals of the University, and to bring this debate to bear in shaping its future.
- To restore the University to the community of staff and students to which it belongs, and to render the University’s management accountable to this community.
We, academics and students, at the University of Aberdeen are spearheading a campaign to reform our university from the inside, in an initiative we call, ‘Reclaiming our University’.
Together, we have created a manifesto to present to the University Senate. The manifesto sets out the key principles of freedom, trust, education and community on which the University is founded – principles, we claim, that are undermined by the senior administration’s business-style management strategies. The manifesto will be launched on Friday, November 25, at the King’s College Chapel, University of Aberdeen.
In common with academics across the UK, Aberdeen University staff struggle with low pay, overwork, and precarious working conditions. They find it increasingly hard to maintain the standards of teaching and research their students – and society at large – deserve. Afraid for their jobs, they are often unwilling to speak out in public.
But the manifesto’s message is one of hope. It reaffirms the University as a democratic community of scholars, students and support staff, united in the pursuit of truth for the public good. The motivations for academic work are moral, not instrumental: universities are charities, not businesses.
As the manifesto emphasises, the world has never been more in need of independent universities than today. As spaces for free, tolerant, informed discussion, universities have a vital role to play in establishing and defending democracy.
Subsequently, the manifesto will be presented to the University Senate early next year. Senators will be invited to approve a motion to adopt it as a statement of the founding principles that will guide the university’s future development, organisation and planning. The Reclaiming Our University campaign hopes that, with the manifesto at its heart, the University of Aberdeen can emerge as a beacon of free debate, honest scholarship, and true education, whatever the financial or political pressure.
This blog has been a tool through which we have gathered feedback on the Manifesto during its drafting stages throughout the past year. It continues to be one the main media outlets for our campaign.