A group of Oxford University
academ­ics have recently composed a flysheet criticising the reforms proposed
by the Green Paper, and circulated it among academics across the University.Dr.
Nicholas Bamforth, Law fellow at Queen’s College, was part of the group of
academics that put together the flysheet, as well as the first signa­tory.However,
he referred to matters dis­cussed in the flysheet as "an alternative set
of proposals (to those of the Chan­cellor)." The flysheet highlighted
"The Discussion Paper" which is a response by some of the
University’s academics to the reforms proposed by the Chancel­lor, Chris
Patten. The flysheet proposes that a "Board of Scrutiny be created to
exercise on Congregation’s behalf independent oversight over decisions made by
Council and the executive, as well as monitoring the effectiveness of
University governance". The
flysheet goes on to add that a Board of Scrutiny has been in place in Cambridge since 1995. It
also highlights a proposal in the discus­sion Paper, of "an end to
Council’s policy of complete confidentiality for all Council business".The
reader is promptly reminded of the system in place in Cambridge where "the unreserved agendas
and minutes of Council and major committees should be published on the
web".Such
references to the systems of governance in place in Cambridge
indicated a criticism of the Chancel­lor’s recent statements encouraging Cambridge to follow in the footsteps of Oxford. The flysheet’s numerous refer­ences
to systems that it argued should be in place in Oxford,
as they are in Cambridge,
implied a contradiction to the views of the Chancellor.Dr
Bamforth said, "It is only the second time [the congregation has] met in
the last two years. The idea of the flysheet is to raise people’s interest in
the debate, and give an outline of the proposals that will be discussed at the
congregation."He
added that he thinks "the flysheet was received rather well, as indicated
by the discussions at the congregation." "There were a total of
thirty signatories on the flysheet from many colleges including Merton, Wadham
and Worcester."ARCHIVE: 4th week MT 2005