Speculation has been growing over the last few months regarding the nominations for the next Chancellor of York. However, secrecy over who will replace Dame Janet Baker is tightly guarded by the University, with a closed sub-committee of big guns apparently ‘still considering nominations’ according to Chief Press Officer Hilary Layton.
Even if the group have chosen, nobody would know untill much later: ‘The details of the nominations are "Top Secret" within the University’ emphasised Layton. However, through undisclosed sources nouse has managed to discover that a decision has been made on nominees, leaked out of the committee’s own members. With the proverbial cat now out of the bag we decided to let the nominees themselves know. Unsurprisingly, many were taken aback, refusing to comment. However, we will, so here is the nouse guide to York’s future Chancellor:
Dame Judi Dench is one of Britain’s most repected actors, winning critical acclaim, born and bred in York (she went to the Mount boarding school here in 1947) Judi Dench scores over many other applicants.
The link to the town helps her cause, as does a string of awards including an Oscar. There is no doubt that she fulfils the selection criteria to ‘achieve distinction in their own field’. Someone that high profile is also bound to be able to help fund-raise for the University. But Dame Judi is a busy lady and we do wonder how much time she will be able to devote to York considering her position.
Robin Cook, the lovable ex-Foreign minister, statesman and Leader of the Commons is now considered as a possibility for Chancellorship here at York. At least he now has plenty of time on his hands.
Cook’s life at the top of politics has undoubtedly left him with prestigious contacts and friends, something the University clearly values, since the committee states that the ‘successful appointee must have connections…beneficial to the University.’
There can’t be a person in Britain who hasn’t heard his surname, but the supermarket mogul, Lord Sainsbury, is also Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science, a Fabian and was Chairman of the London Business School. He is clearly capable of making connections with the people who matter, and with his vast fortune could spare a few quid to help the poor kids in Goodricke get a proper college. nouse also hopes he could influence the University to swap Costcutter for a Sainsbury’s Local. Unfortunately, Sainsbury is a very busy man. How much time could he spend helping York whilst balancing the problems of government and commerce?
Chris Patten is apparently under consideration, however he is an unlikely candidate, being as the former Governor of Hong Kong is already Chancellor of Oxford University.
Mary Robinson, the popular ex-Irish president, and former United Nations High commisioner for Human Rights appears to have been ‘voluntarily’ unemployed for nearly twelve months. One of the first female heads of state in Europe, she is clearly a good ambassador for the University. Her long career in politics would also give her contacts and knowledge that could help York progress. While she may have advanced the cause of Irish democracy, the lack of any link with York is significant.
And guess who let the cat out of the bag… only 11 people were supposed to know the details of the nominations, one of the following can’t hold their own water, but which one?
Mr Gordon Horsfield, Chair of Council
Prof Brian Cantor, Vice-Chancellor
Prof Felicity Riddy, Deputy VC
Prof Haleh Afshar, Academic Member
Mr Howard Bryan, Council lay member
Mr Tom Connor, SU President
Ms Nicki Cooper-Harvey, GSA Pres
Dr Ken Dixon, Court lay member
Prof Alastair Fitter, academic member
Dr Jane Moody, academic member
Mr Tim Willson, non-academic member
The final decision is announced in November 2003.