Cambridge questions 2

August 23, 2002

You report Hubert Picarda QC as saying that "universities should fall into exempt charity status because they are subject to self-regulation" ("Concern at proposed charity law reforms", THES , August 16). What if self-regulation is abused? At Cambridge, I have commented, with little impact, on breaches of statute or the habit of inventing powers for bodies not authorised by statute.

Self-regulation is failing. As Cambridge is an exempt charity, I cannot seek help from the Charity Commission. The Privy Council, which must approve statute changes, lacks powers to ensure conformity to the statutes. As vice-chancellors are usually implicated in any questionable decision, they cannot act judicially. No one would wish to involve our chancellor, Prince Philip, in controversy, and we have no visitor. Perhaps an Exempt Charities Commission is needed, with power to oversee solely questions of governance.

A. W. F. Edwards
Cambridge

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