Readers sympathetic to Fred Inglis (“Trained obedience”, Features, 28 August) and Marina Warner (“Attempts to ‘gag and silence’ academics are commonplace”, News, 11 September) and their fears for the independence of academics amid a marketised higher education sector should read Paul Goodman’s The Community of Scholars (1962). Goodman observes that the “peculiar disease of modern administration is that it replaces in a formal and functionless way, the community of scholars itself”, turning teachers and students into “company men” and “grade-seekers”. Universities are run like banks; college presidents act like chief executives; education is considered a “brand good for selling and buying” like any other. Particular attention should be paid to the author’s final chapter, “A simple proposal”, as it was a key influence on the free universities movement.
University of Bradford