Discussions are an important part of the
University’s decision-making process, providing a forum in which members of the University
may comment on Reports submitted to the University by, for example, the Council or
the General Board, or on topics of concern raised formally by members
of the Regent House.
When and where
Discussions usually take place fortnightly
at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays during term-time and are either held online or in person, traditionally in the Senate-House (although they relocate during the examination period). A Notice issued by the
Vice-Chancellor listing the items put forward for each Discussion is published
in the Reporter usually two weeks
beforehand, confirming the venue. The Chair of the Board of Scrutiny or any ten members of the Regent House may request that the Council arrange for one or more of the items listed on the agenda of the Discussion to be discussed in person.
Discussions are an important means by which the central executive and
policy-making bodies of the University receive feedback on proposals. Members
of the University may attend and contribute remarks, which
are then published to the University in the Reporter.
The University Council or other originating body considers the remarks made and
may opt to respond by publishing a Notice in the Reporter. The discussion of Reports takes place before the approval
of recommendations is sought from the Regent House; proposals can therefore be
varied or even withdrawn as a result of remarks made.
The term ‘Discussion’ is somewhat misleading.
Remarks made are in the form of prepared speeches and there is no live debate
as such. Discussions have long been part of the democratic tradition of the
University, and as a result the format is formal. Proceedings are chaired by
the Vice-Chancellor (or a duly appointed deputy), with Proctors and the
Registrary (or appointed deputy) in attendance. Academical dress is worn by
those entitled to wear it and the proceedings follow a set format.
Attendance and entitlement to speak
Under Regulations 2 and 3 for Discussions
in the Statutes and Ordinances, the following may attend and take part in a Discussion: