Rector Candidates Supporting Human Rights!

February 16, 2014 in main, news by Ruth

As you can read from Dominyka’s post, all of the candidates have expressed a commitment to promote human rights on campus. However, we have received further information from  candidates Alan Bissett and Kelvin Holdsworth that show their interest in some of the big campaigns that we have supported as a society. Whilst we are not officially backing any candidate, we agreed to pass on this information that was sent to us.

[Voting will take place this Monday and Tuesday.]

Alan Bissett

‘…in 2013 my solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe was shortlisted for an Amnesty International award, and I also co-wrote a pamphlet for Scottish PEN entitled Freedom of Expression in the New Scotland, exploring issues of censorship and press freedom.

‘I will be running a campaign which stresses equality, focusing on gender imbalance at various levels in the University and the status of refugees and immigrants.  I have already tried to tackle the disappointingly all-male selection for Rector, but only being elected would fully enable me to do this.

‘I held a Q&A in the QMU last week, which was very productive, and I spoke to representatives from Crossing Borders and STAR about the problems facing asylum seekers and refugees at the university, such as them being treated simply as ‘foreign students’, regardless of their particular needs and vulnerabilities.

‘I do of course recognise the excellent work which has been done by Amnesty students on the CFCI initiative, and would hope to carry this forwards if elected Rector.  Indeed, I spoke about this very issue in my latest interview with Qmunnicate magazine.’


Kelvin Holdsworth

‘In recent months, the human rights issue that I’ve been most connected with is the campaign for Equal Marriage where I’ve been one of the consistent campaigners in favour of marriage equality since long before the major equality organisations got involved in Scotland and in a workplace which is directly homophobic, sexist and discriminatory. Fighting those issues within church circles has kept me fairly busy over the last few years and it is good to be able to celebrate successes – the passage of legislation to allow bishops to be elected in my church without regard to gender, the Equal Marriage legislation passing at last at Holyrood are very public joys. Alongside those I’ve been involved in advocating for gender equality in less public roles in the church as well as campaigning against religious voices who encourage discrimination in Africa that leads to both violence and a situation where HIV prevention work cannot take place.

‘In recent months, I’ve been outspoken about human rights abuses in Commonwealth countries ahead of the Commonwealth Games in the summer. My call for politicians to be challenged to raise human rights issues with overseas leaders coming to Glasgow this summer was covered on the front page of the Herald newspaper at Christmas as well as in a very helpful leader article – see here:

I’ve invited Peter Tatchell to my church in July to give a public human rights lecture and look forward to using that even to raise the profile of human rights just when the Games are beginning.’


It’s great that candidates are taking human rights seriously and I hope you find this information useful.