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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 13:12 GMT
Oxford students back Toksvig
Sandi Toksvig has signed a student union statement against top-up fees

Sandi Toksvig has received the endorsement of the students' union in the election for Oxford chancellor.

The broadcaster and writer, backed by the Liberal Democrats, is the only one of the four candidates to have signed a statement against top-up fees drawn up by the students.

"It's clear that she fits the bill. Ms Toksvig has stated that she is committed to retaining academic freedom and she has nearly three decades of experience in lobbying and fundraising," said Will Straw, president of the Oxford University Student Union.

"She is also clearly committed to the concerns of students, not least that of student funding and support. I'll be voting for her."

Top-up fees

Ms Toksvig has campaigned as a candidate against student fees, arguing that "tuition fees and top-up fees are contrary to the British principle that education should be available to all students on merit".

In an election statement, she says that she wants to break the mould, by being the first woman chancellor in 800 years (and the first non-Oxford graduate since the Duke of Wellington).

And she argues that higher education should be funded by "a fair and progressive taxation system. Top-up fees are not the answer".

The election to become Oxford's figurehead will take place on Friday and Saturday, with Ms Toksvig facing three other candidates - Chris Patten, the EU external affairs commissioner; Lord Bingham, the senior law lord and Lord Neill, the former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Bookmakers are tipping either Lord Bingham or Mr Patten to win.

So much money has been staked on Lord Bingham that his odds have been slashed from the starting prices.

William Hill gives both Lord Bingham and Mr Patten odds of 6-4 of scooping the chancellorship.

Ladbrokes is backing Lord Bingham as favourite at 5-4, with Patten at 6-4.

The third favourite is Lord Neill, with a price of 7-2 at William Hill and 3-1 at Ladbrokes.

Ms Toksvig is the outsider, with a price of 5-1 at both bookmakers.

Toksvig enters chancellor race
24 Feb 03 |  Education

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