|Cambridge rooftops, shortly before my first visit to the Senate House|
This all started when I got an email from a friend asking if I was going to be voting for the next Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. Apparently the candidates are the actor Brian Blessed, the politician Lord Sainsbury, the barrister Michael Mansfield and the local convenience store owner Abdul Ahrain. Now I was vaguely aware that the Chancellor was elected by the university's senate. My only rather indirect experience of this august body was when I got my degrees, ceremonies which took place in the rather stern building called the Senate House.
However, on checking on the University website I see my friend was right. I am informed as follows: the Chancellor is elected by the senate, and the senate consists of holders of any Doctor's degree of the University, any Master's degree of the University, or the degree of Bachelor of Divinity of the University, and all current members of the Regent House. So indeed, as a holder of a Master's degree of the University, I am a member of the senate. A senator.
In case any US readers feel my adoption of the title devalues their honourable politicians, I ought to point that, while I have a deep respect for the United States of America and its constitution, the University's Chancellor was first elected in 1226, a convenient 550 years before US independence. So we got there first.
Which means... the Senator is in.