Bright Green co-editor Peter McColl returned as Edinburgh University rector

Posted on January 11, 2012 by | 14 Comments

Peter McColl, co-editor of Bright Green, has been returned as Rector of Edinburgh University. Peter was until recently chair of Transition Scotland, works in public affairs for a Scottish charity, and was ‘Rector’s Assessor’ – effectively Deputy Rector – from 2006-9. He was voted by Total Politics Britain’s 7th best left wing blogger in 2011, and top Green blogger. Whilst at Edinburgh University Peter was vice president of the Students’ Association (2001-2) and president of the university People & Planet society.

The Rector is chair of university court – effectively its board of governors. He or she is elected by staff and students. Previous rectors have included dignitaries – Gladstone, Lloyd George, David Steel, and Winston Churchill; and prominent local activists – Gordon Brown managed to secure the position whilst he was a student – though this has now been banned, and former student president Malcolm Macleod was returned in 1993. The current rector is journalist Iain Macwhirter, and he was preceeded by Bright Green editor in chief and former Green MSP Mark Ballard.

Peter, a prominent activist in Edinburgh, agreed to stand for rector after being approached by the the university’s anti-cuts groups. He quickly secured support from the university’s progressive student activist community including feminists, environmentalists, global justice activists and significant numbers of student council members. Against this backdrop, no other student group ran a candidate, and he was returned unopposed today.

We’ll have more on this soon, but, in the mean time, on a personal note, many congratulations to Peter. I can’t imagine a better person for the job.

Peter McColl

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14 Responses to “Bright Green co-editor Peter McColl returned as Edinburgh University rector”

  1. Chris RichardsonNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

    Glad to hear that news. Seems a long time ago that we campaigned on behalf of Iain Macwhirter. Glad that the students of Edinburgh Uni are still voting for serious, active Rectors, and not electing some fool off celebrity big brother.

  2. DespairingNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

    Congratulations to Peter on being elected Rector, and congratulations to the students of Edinburgh for their insight and good taste!

  3. lupinNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

    Well done Peter. Excellent news.

  4. Jordan DNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

    @Despairing & Chris Richardson – the students didn’t vote for anything. He was returned unopposed, so they didn’t even get a chance to re-open nominations.

    Oddly, he was a man who was famous for saying that former students shouldn’t hang around the University getting in the way trying to help. How times have changed.

    As someone else said – a top 20 Univeristy in the World and they keep coming back with nobodies. A sad day for the University.

  5. Justin KenrickNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

    Hi Jordan,

    The fact that he was unopposed means no one wanted to oppose him, which seems a pretty big endorsement. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Peter has been achieving a huge amount both locally where he lives and in Scotland more generally – ‘hanging around’ is not a term one could use to describe him! And, if by ‘nobodies’ you mean non-celebrities then, as Chris says, “Glad to hear that news”!

  6. Michael MartenNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

    Excellent news – congratulations, Peter!

  7. LeeNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2012 @ 11:30 pm

    Justin – It’s not that nobody wanted to oppose him, it’s that nobody got a chance too! It’s not like his name was buzzing round campus and people thought “There’s no way anyone can beat this guy!”. The announcement today was the first time I had EVER heard of him. I’m not saying he won’t do the job well, but I’d like to know why and who he is! Maybe I would have voted for him, but I should have got the chance.

  8. David QuoospNo Gravatar
    January 12th, 2012 @ 12:04 am

    Another political careerist. Yawn.

  9. Adam RamsayNo Gravatar
    January 12th, 2012 @ 12:19 am

    Lee – I think Peter would be the first to agree that it’s a shame there wasn’t a campaign. Given the students who persuaded him to stand (those with lots of experience running these campaigns) and Peter’s own skill at such things, and appeal to students, I’m sure he would have won. But I agree it’s a real shame that no one stood against him.

    David – a political careerist who has chosen to join the Green Party? Coz that’s obviously the easiest route to power..?

  10. Peter McCollNo Gravatar
    January 12th, 2012 @ 11:54 am

    Thanks for your kind words Justin, Michael, Chris and others. I’m very much looking forward to it.

    Jordan – I’m actually very disappointed that there isn’t going to be an election. There were other candidates out there, it’s just that none of them made it to nomination.

    You’re also quite right that there should be an option to Re-open Nominations. I’ll be raising that in the hope that it is added in future. I’m also keen to ensure that there is a mechanism for recall.

    (And you may be the first person to claim that I was famous!)

    David. I’m no career politician. As Adam says, the Green Party’s hardly the place to go if you are a career politician.

    Lee. As I said to Jordan I’m sorry there won’t be an election, and I do believe that there should be an option to Re-open Nominations. But I’ll be making a concerted effort to ensure that I’m as accessible to staff and students as possible.

  11. Jerome MaguireNo Gravatar
    January 12th, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

    Hi Peter,

    Delighted with the news, opposed or unopposed you still got elected. remember there are always going to be people that will knock you and take a swing but keep on going, you know you are doing the right thing.

    We are very proud of you.

  12. Hamish NeilsonNo Gravatar
    January 15th, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

    Well done, despite the inevitable negative sniping from the ignorant. Still, that’s democracy for you.

  13. Shahana GollaNo Gravatar
    February 6th, 2013 @ 6:01 pm

    Amazing, I found this place on yahoo looking for something completely unrelated,
    and now I’m gonna have to go back and go through the archives :) So much for free time today, but this was a great find!!!


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