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Comment: We need new statute for selecting leaders

The new merger would be better accepted if at the same time a new statute for the selection of leaders was formulated, argues Life Science professor Mogens Flensted-Jensen

The news release on the merger states:

»Staff and student input will be needed to validate and complete the draft presented by the deans before further processing. The hearing will, among other things, ensure that the new faculties, departments and board of studies is given the right academic profile,« explains Ralf Hemmingsen.

This is fine, but not enough. The new University Act puts more emphasis on involvement of students and staff, and redefines the composition of the Academic Councils.

Should define influence of students, staff

I think that it would help the acceptance of any new structure, if at the same time proposals for a reformulation of the statute of University of Copenhagen could be given.

In particular procedures for the choice of leaders, i.e. Rector, Prorector, deans, department heads etc and also for professorships, should be formulated.

This is to ensure that the influence of the students, staff and the academic councils on these issues be clearly defined, understood and unavoidable.

Leadership needs to be evaluated from below

If not, there might be a fear, that only top-down assessments and structural and economic considerations are involved. This fear would have a very negative effect on the whole process.

Why? Because a good new structure does not help, if we cannot be sure, that the future leaders are of the right character. If we cannot be sure, that they have respect for academic freedom and academic values.

If we cannot be sure, that their leadership potential as seen from ‘below’ is also evaluated.

Mogens Flensted-Jensen, professor, Faculty of Life Sciences

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