UPDATE: Extraordinary Senate Meeting

Dear Reclaimers – Wednesday (24 January 2018) there was an Extraordinary Senate Meeting. Unfortunately, the motion set forth to approve the Reclaiming our University Manifesto, as guiding principles for a to be established working group, was rejected by University of Aberdeen Senate. Prof Tim Ingold gave a passionate speech in which he outlined with great clarity how we envision a different kind of University; one more communal. The responses by certain senators was rather hostile and misconstrued. They stated that the Manifesto had a negative and divisive tone towards the Principal’s Office [Senior Management], several argued that they had been unaware of the Reclaiming Our University movement until the Senate meeting, and others challenged superficially the Manifesto’s interpretation of “Trust” and “Community”. Instead of a thorough debate to address the core principles set out in the Manifesto, a well-orchestrated counter-motion was put to the table. The motion (albeit called at times amendment to avoid constitutional issues) is to set up a working group which is Co-chaired by a Vice Principal and someone from the Reclaiming Our University Senate Working Group. After a contentious discussion, the Senate rejected the initial motion of the Reclaiming Our University and agreed with the amendment [read: new counter-motion]. Those that witnessed the Senate Meeting can conclude that the values, the principles, and the hard work and support of many of you was hijacked and misconstrued. To restate, the Manifesto has always been written to be a beacon of light and guiding principles to envision a different kind of University. The University of Aberdeen was in an unique position, taking the lead as Tim mentioned in his speech, to offer a new kind of University that breaks away from the neo-liberal chains of current academic structures. To reiterate, it has never been a personal attack on those in the Principal’s Office. Quite the contrary, the Manifesto has always meant to reinforce the sense of community made up of the diversity of people studying, working, or being alumni to our wonderful, ancient University. The “fight” is not over and we need to ensure that our principles will be heard in the working group that has been approved. We thank you dearly for all your support until so far and continue to strive for a more communal University!


Danish Manifesto!


Our Manifesto has been translated into Danish and published by Forgalet Mindspace.

It will be presented to a big conference on the current state of education to be held in Denmark next week.

The conference next week is held at Aarhus University, DPU, and is called: “A ‘bildungs’ conference for universities”, in Danish:  Universitetets dannelseskonference. For more information:  http://edu.au.dk/aktuelt/arrangement/artikel/universitetets-dannelseskonference/.



The celebration

Last Friday, we had the launch of our Manifesto – we read out sections of the Manifesto, read poetry, heard live music, had short addresses from Tim Ingold and Maggie Chapman (the University’s rector), and had refreshments afterwards.

Here are some photos from the event:




Tonight the Reclaiming our University campaign launches the Manifesto that it has been working on for the last year!

6pm-7:30pm, King’s College Chapel, Old Aberdeen campus.

There will be: readings of the manifesto, poetry, live music, and mulled wine afterwards! Hope to see you there.



Crowdfunding Appeal for Manifesto printing

Weʼre raising £300 to print paper copies of the “Reclaiming Our University” manifesto to distribute to interested staff, students, and members of the community.

We have produced a Manifesto laying out the principles that have emerged through our campaign, and we now aim to get it endorsed by the University Senate. We will be holding an official launch event for The Manifesto on Friday November 25th 2016, from 6-8pm, at King’s College Chapel. There will be music, poetry, and refreshments! All students, staff, scholars, and alumni of the University of Aberdeen are welcome to attend.

In preparation for this event, we need to print ca. 1000 paper copies of The Manifesto for distribution. All money raised through this site will go directly towards printing costs; any extra money raised will mean that we can print extra copies.

We appreciate any contribution to this. The link to the crowdfunding page is: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/reclaiming-our-university

The Petition

We have the opportunity to rebuild our university. We must seize it now.

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.

The aim of this petition (https://www.change.org/p/rou-working-group-reclaiming-our-university-the-manifesto) is to garner support for The Manifesto as we attempt to get it passed through the University Senate.

“We, scholars, students, staff and alumni of the University of Aberdeen, call for fundamental reform of the principles, ethos and organisation of our university. Our university … should stand out as a beacon of wisdom, tolerance and humanity. These are our core values. They are moral and ethical, not instrumental, and cannot be measured on any scale. They rest on four pillars. These are freedom, trust, education and community.” (Paragraph 1 & 7 of The Manifesto).

The university we envision will:

  •  “Create an environment for free, open-minded and unprejudiced debate, which stands out as a beacon of wisdom, tolerance and humanity.
  • Defend our freedom to undertake research and teaching in the pursuit of truth, against the constraints, both internal and external to the institution, which threaten to curtail it.
  • Restore the trust that underpins both professionalism and collegiality, by removing the conditions of line and performance management, and of surveillance, which lead to its erosion.
  • Bring together research and teaching as complementary aspects of an education that carries a responsibility of care.
  • Abstain from the egregious language of business that would divide the university between ‘employers’, ‘employees’ and ‘customers’.
  • Restore the governance of the university, and control over its affairs, to the community of scholars, students, staff and alumni to which it rightfully belongs.” (Paragraph 4 of The Manifesto)

Here is the link for the full Manifesto. Please sign this petition in support of it’s aims and values: https://www.change.org/p/rou-working-group-reclaiming-our-university-the-manifesto

The Launch

On Thursday 6th October, we held an open meeting to do a final revision of the manifesto and make any more amendments.

Up until this meeting, we received feedback on the initial draft through this blog, emails, and our Facebook page. This meeting was the last phase of editing the draft.

It was a productive meeting and we are glad to now present the final and official version of The Manifesto: reclaiming-manifestofinal.

We will be holding an official launch event for The Manifesto on Friday November 25th 2016, from 6-8pm, at King’s College Chapel. There will be music, poetry, and refreshments! All students, staff, scholars, and alumni of the University of Aberdeen are welcome to attend.

Here is a petition for anyone to sign in support of The Manifesto: https://www.change.org/p/rou-working-group-reclaiming-our-university-the-manifesto








Our text for a manifesto for the university has now been revised in the light of comments received over the last few months. We will be holding an open meeting on Thursday October 6th to discuss the revised version, and to make any final amendments. We then plan to publish it, with a launch event on Friday November 25th. The next step will be to have the manifesto endorsed by the University Senate.