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.