The measure of trust

January 5, 2007

It will need more than watchfulness to ensure that the central purpose of university life remains intact ("Academe's value must be upheld", Leader, December 15).

Neither "modernisation" nor "accountability" per se are threats to the academy.

The real threats are the unaccountability of the old-fashioned managerialist manipulators and the acquiescence of the creatures they appoint to serve them.

The answer is equally old-fashioned - not pro vice-chancellors, but a dose of democracy to make those at the top of the ladder truly accountable to those at the bottom.

Figuring out what you have to do to persuade people to trust you with their votes is a discipline second to none. How many of our academic "leaders" could master it?

P. K. Burgess

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