A fortnight ago I wrote a blog post about the possible appointment of Federica Mogherini as Rector of the College of Europe, and why Herman Van Rompuy has questions to answer about this.
Since then I have dug. I have investigated. I have asked. And I have found no answers to a series of very basic questions posed in the initial blog post – about how interviews for the position will be conducted, and when, and about how and if candidates comply with the criteria set out in the job advertisement. As a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe it was right to ask these questions internally first, but the only answer has been this, the formal line from the College:
“The College of Europe is in the process of appointing a new rector. Once this process is completed the name of the successful candidate will be announced via our media channels.”
So then I have no option but to move to the next stage – to turn this into a public campaign. An Open Letter to Herman Van Rompuy, President of the Administrative Council of the College of Europe and Chair of the Selection Committee for the new Rector – you can read this letter, and sign it, here. Those signing simply ask that the College of Europe sticks to its criteria (or transparently changes them), and lays out a clear and transparent timetable for the appointment process. After all that was the case for the first round (see the job advertisement), so why should that not be the case now?
Doing this is no fun. Seeing an institution where I have both studied and worked be incapable of communicating what is going on, and seemingly unable to stick to a transparent process, pains me. But likewise I do not wish to be associated with an institution behaving in a manner I disagree with.
All of this is no comment on anyone in the running for the position – what is at stake here is whether the College of Europe is capable of sticking to its own procedures. Were it ultimately not capable of that, the place is diminished.