Ask the Principal of the University of Edinburgh to disclose his daily schedule.

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This petition demands the Principal’s daily schedule be made publicly available. It is a simple and easy fix towards making the institution a little more transparent. The Principal has stated that it is not a substantial issue and students should be addressing bigger concerns. However, if he is unable to implement such a simple solution, it is unlikely he will address those bigger concerns. His schedule should be disclosed in the name of a more democratic university.

Heads of state and other publicly accountable figures openly publish their daily schedules. But the principal of the University of Edinburgh does not.

The president of the United States of America has an annual salary of $400,000, and has a schedule full of meetings with powerful figures and political benefactors. Yet, the US president’s schedule is public.

The principal of the University of Edinburgh has an annual salary of £342,000 ($486,000). Including pension contributions and relocation costs, Principal Peter Mathieson’s salary exceeds £400,000. The principal’s schedule is full of meetings with academic and business leaders, benefactors, and other “important” people. The principal’s schedule is private.

When asked for the principal’s schedule this week, the Head of Stakeholder Relations replied that “Managing the diary is an intensive job as it is extremely busy and changes daily if not hourly”. Managing the US President’s diary is also intensive—perhaps even more so—, but whoever does it finds a way to make it available.

“Many of his appointments are confidential” as people need to discuss “private matters”, which is “right and proper”, said the Head of Stakeholder Relations. However, the business of the university is a public matter. Meetings with benefactors to public institutions are public matters. Knowing who meets with the university principal, and whose ideas hold his ear, is a matter of public concern. The university is a publicly-funded entity after all.

Students and staff can band together to demand a small change to make a big difference in the way management makes themselves accountable.