Catherine Stihler is the new Rector
It was a long and hard-fought nomination process.
Catherine Stihler has been announced as Rector, leaving students to question the democratic process involved with the selection of their representative within the University.
Stihler was announced as Rector this morning, and was appointed without an election due to a clause in the University election rules. The election rule stipulates that ‘in the case of one candidate being validly nominated, no election shall take place and this candidate will be automatically appointed.’
Despite a popular Facebook page endorsing the candidacy of actor (and frequent St Andrews visitor) BIll Murray, Stihler was the only candidate to achieve formal nomination.
The new Rector is a Scottish MEP in the European Parliament. She is a St Andrews graduate, who also served as Association President, as well as completing a postgraduate degree at the University.
Annie Newman, Stihler’s campaign manager, feels that St Andrews has been lucky to find an individual so dedicated to the University, its history and its student body:
‘Catherine feels quite connected to the university and its students in a way that I think is particularly important for a Rector to have. When speaking to her, it’s evident that she cares greatly about the student experience. On top of that, her external connections and standing in the international community means that St Andrews’ voice will always be heard.’
Stihler will be the University’s 52nd Rector, following Alistair Moffat, and just the 2nd woman to hold the position.
The announcement has created some backlash towards the perceived undemocratic nature of Stihler’s position, due to the lack of an election. A petition has started against the clause that gives unopposed candidates the Rector role by default.
Stihler and her campaign manager are conscious of this situation, and Newman stresses ‘that in the future, an unopposed candidate should have to run against RON (Re-Opening Nominations); Catherine agrees, and was looking forward to running a healthy campaign!’ They both support changing the clause in the SRC for the next election in three years.
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