Occasional reflections on Life, the World, and Mathematics

Counting to 20


I’m sitting in the Sheldon Theatre for a meeting of Congregation, Oxford University’s governing body, to discuss a suspension of rules to allow a discussion of the proposed resolution to change the university’s negotiating posture on the pension issue. (The motion was proposed with only 18 days notice, rather than the required 22.) The rules allow 20 members to rise (ageism!) to object, which blocks consideration.

It surprised me how determined the university administration was to block this vote.

But it also surprised me how difficult it was to count to 20. It took around ten minutes. They seemed to keep getting confused, and needing to recount various sections.

Whether there really were 20 I’m not sure, but they finally said there were, and adjourned the meeting, to shots of “Shame!”

At which point the meeting was spontaneously moved outside, and a wildcat vote was held.

Comments on: "Counting to 20" (1)

  1. Bernard Sufrin said:

    The wildcat vote (it was actually a ballot using the pre-issued ballot papers) on the substance of the motion won by (at least) 420 to 2. The administration executed a volte-face at 8am this morning. See https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2018/03/06/sophie-smith/how-oxford-works-continued/ and https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2018/03/07/sophie-smith/how-oxford-may-actually-work-after-all/ for detail (inclusing some comments)

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