The Proctors and the Assessor are senior officers of the University whose roles encompass advocacy and scrutiny.
The Proctors and the Assessor oversee student matters and uphold the University's statutes and policies throughout its governance and administration. Colleges are on a rota so that, every year, three of them each choose one of their Fellows to service full-time for 12 months; two colleges choose the Proctors and the third Assessor.
The office of the Proctor dates from medieval times. The nominee who has held an MA longer becomes Senior Proctor; the other, Junior Proctor. They have equal authority and status. The Proctors and Assessor serve from Wednesday of 9th week of Hilary term (mid-March).
The office of the Assessor was created in 1960, with a special concern for policies on student health, welfare and financial issues.
The Proctors' and the Assessor's roles are mainly:
- ensuring that the rules, regulations and standards of the University are observed (including a major part in ensuring the fair and proper conduct of University examinations and in enforcing conduct regulations)
- scrutinising potential departures from those rules, regulations and standards, both when they are necessary (eg alternative examination arrangements) and when redress is required (eg in relation to complaints by University members - the Proctors have the power to call on any University member to help in their enquiries and to provide a remedy where appropriate)
- serving on a wide range of University committees.
When on duty, the Proctors and Assessor wear sub fusc with white tie and bands. On formal occasions they are recognisable from their distinctive academic dress: gowns with dark blue sleeves and facings for the Proctors, purple for the Assessor, and white hoods.