Autonomous response

May 6, 2010

In "The enemies within" (22 April), Anthony Glees appears to make an extraordinary and unfounded insinuation that the University of Oxford's external funding sources are affecting campus life. Those donating money have no influence over how academics carry out their research, what conclusions they reach, the content or topics of talks they give, or how the university sets its course content and teaching requirements.

Furthermore, the article's claim that the recent redevelopment of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum was a victory for "Islamic propaganda" is completely false. The redevelopment received major support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Linbury Trust, along with a range of trusts, foundations and private individuals from across the world. Since it reopened, it has received international acclaim from the media and the public alike.

As a general point, academic freedom and independence are core values of the university. Oxford is consistently ranked in the top handful of universities in the world. This would not be achievable unless research and teaching were rigorous, independent and objective.

Michael Earl, pro vice-chancellor for development and external affairs, University of Oxford
Christopher Brown, director, Ashmolean Museum.

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