University of Leicester criticised over senior appointment

By Olivia Mumby

David_Willetts,_Minister_of_State_for_Universities_and_Science,_UK_(14603729674)

A petition has been started against the appointment of former Conservative MP,  Lord David Willetts, as the new Chancellor of the University of Leicester.

Lord Willetts oversaw the increase in university tuition fees in 2010. He also publicly criticised feminism and blamed the increase in working women for damaging the social mobility of working class men.

The petition, posted on change.org, states that: “We believe that this appointment is at odds with the HeForShe values of the University and is an insult to Leicester students.”

Since it was launched on Monday (Feb 12), almost 2,000 people have signed the petition to show their disdain at Mr Willetts’ appointment as Chancellor.

Supporter, Adam Gray, said: “The appointment of a Chancellor who has previously shown such callous disregard for the interests of students, and professed views on gender equality which would have been more at home in the dark ages is a hugely disappointing move by the university.”

Whilst Mariya Pervez, another supporter, said: “A bigoted Tory with regressive, damaging and tired opinions has no place in education. Education is about the future.”

However, Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University, welcomed Lord Willetts’ new role. He said: “We are delighted that David has accepted the role of Chancellor.

“He brings a wealth of experience in higher education, as well as public and political life, which will be enormously beneficial to the university.”

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