In response to government pressure and subsequent marketisation and expansion universities are adopting more corporate forms of governance. It is important that students’ unions understand these changes in order to challenge the concentration power in governing bodies and reductions in the role of academics and students in decision-making.
Students have a part to play in building more democratic universities. The concept of student engagement is now at a tipping point; it is important student engagement is articulated in a way which leads to more student participation in university decision-making.
We need to develop ways that unions can challenge university governance, exposing the gap between the values in a university’s mission and decisions that contradict these values. We need to ask the normative question of who should make decisions and what should be the structure of decision-making in an institution adept to problems of gender equality, student engagement and public value.