Today’s Discussion proceedings have
retained the formal traditions of the past. The set-up is formal and the format
prescribed. Here’s a rough guide on what happens and when for a Discussion in person in the Senate-House. The arrangements for a Discussion taking place by videoconference are similar, but with adjustments to the different format.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Deputy VC) chairs the
proceedings, and is seated at a table on the dais. The proctors are seated to
the Deputy VC’s left, the lectern to the Deputy VC’s right. The Registrary’s desk is
located to the side near the lectern with the Reporter Editor’s desk in between.
Chairs for the assembly are set out in the middle of the House with an aisle
through the middle.
13.45 Participants and officers arrive at
the Senate-House and take their seats.
13.55 The presiding Deputy Vice-Chancellor is
greeted by the Senate-House Keeper and waits at the East End of the House.
14.00 On the chiming of the bells of Great St
Mary’s, the Deputy VC starts to walk up the aisle and the assembly stands. On
passing, the Deputy VC caps the Registrary to the left and then the Proctors to
the right. The Deputy VC then sits behind the table at the front of the dais
and calls the assembly to sit.
Calling of Reports and making remarks
The Deputy VC rises, caps the assembly,
says a few words of welcome and briefly reminds discussants of the form. The
Deputy VC then reads aloud the title of the first item for discussion, caps
again and sits.
Attendees wishing to speak on the item
raise their hands and the Deputy VC will invite them forward one at a time to
deliver their remarks standing at the lectern. Remarks are addressed to the
Chair and should begin ‘Deputy Vice-Chancellor…’. When finished, speakers give
a copy of their script to the Reporter Editor before returning to their seat.
When no further speakers wish to come forward, the Deputy VC again rises, caps
the assembly, and reads the title of the next item.
When all the items listed have been
discussed, the Deputy VC rises, caps the assembly, and declares that the Discussion
is finished. The assembly stands as the Deputy VC walks back down the House,
capping the Proctors on the left and the Registrary on the right.
15.50 Discussions are tabled for a maximum of two
hours (from 2pm until 4pm). Items still remaining or in progress are carried
over to the next scheduled Discussion. If at 15.50 the Discussion has not
finished, the Deputy VC asks for a show of hands to see how many
discussants wish to speak on the remaining items. If more than two or three,
the Deputy VC may consult with the Registrary (or appointed Deputy) on
postponing the remainder of the Discussion. As soon as a speech ends after 16.00, the Deputy VC
announces that the remaining items will be carried over to the next Discussion
and then draws the proceedings to a close.