Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

V-Cs Decline to Enlist in Defence of the Realm

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

V-Cs Decline to Enlist in Defence of the Realm

Article excerpt

A number of UK university vice-chancellors invited to join the Council for the Defence of British Universities ignored correspondence from organisers, a founding member of the council has said.

Sir Keith Thomas, the historian and former president of the British Academy, said that he had written to several university leaders to join the group, which was launched last week to campaign against government interference in the sector, but not one had decided to join the campaign.

"They either declined to respond entirely or were extremely hesitant about the possible effect that it might have on their position," he told Times Higher Education after the group's inaugural meeting on 13 November, held at the British Academy. However, he added that every former vice- chancellor he approached had accepted.

Sir Keith said he suspected that many academics from the rank and file would be supportive of the campaign, which has already criticised a number of government policies, but that self-interest may prevent more senior university leaders from joining.

Speaking at the meeting, Lord Morgan of Aberdyfi, the historian and former head of the University of Wales, said that vice-chancellors held the key to tackling many of the problems faced by universities. …

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