UPDATE: Oxford Dons Vote ‘No Confidence’ In Willetts

Oxford have passed the motion of ‘no confidence’ in David Willetts, 283 in favour, 5 against.

david willetts don dons no confidence Senate House tuition fees vote willetts


Oxford’s Dons have voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion of ‘no confidence’ in universities minister David Willetts.

283 Dons voted in favour of the measure while just 5 voted against. The University’s governing council will now write to the minister to deliver the verdict.

The vote may have a significant impact on how Cambridge Dons decide to vote when a similar motion is proposed in front of senate house.


Cambridge academics are joining Oxford in a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Universities Minister David Willetts.

The motion has been signed by nearly 150 Cambridge Dons and will be ratified in Senate House within the next few days.

Oxford have passed a similar motion last month. Academics at both Universities feel the Government’s decision to raise tuition fees to a maximum of £9,000, as well as cutting government funding by a total of £940m and could ruin England’s higher education.

Senior academics are particularly concerned with Willett’s support for more ‘for-profit’ universities and the government’s increasingly “incoherent” policy on university admissions.

Eminent poet and Caius’ fellow Jeremy Halvard Prynne told The Telegraph: “It seems to me now a critical moment to raise a voice, along with Oxford, against this constantly sliding and destructive tendency degrading a coherent policy for higher education.”

No confidence yeah? Not bothered.

CUSU have backed the Don’s petition. CUSU Pres Rahul Mansigani told The Tab: “Universities face near impossible challenges next year. £9,000 a year produces a terrifying debt figure, and it is a very real concern that this will deter the bright applicants that Cambridge needs to admit.”

Willetts’ recent policy of “off-quota” university places has also been deeply criticized. These are non-publicly funded places on degree courses that are paid for by employers who agree to sponsor students or by parents who can afford the fees.

Willetts defended the plans in parliament last month, saying: “There is no question of wealthy students being able to buy a place at university. Access to a university must be based on ability to learn, not ability to pay.”

Under current government plans, a ring-fence has been placed around subjects classed in categories ‘A’ and ‘B’. Subjects such as: science, engineering, and maths will have no cuts made whereas arts subjects will face heavy cuts.

Professor Simon Goldhill, Classics fellow at King’s College outlined the self-defeating nature of this decision: “The humanities have been systematically undervalued by government because of the crassness of the economic or market models chosen,” before adding: “it is a conscious marketization which goes back to the Tory thinkers of the 19th century. It was crap then and is crap now.