Free-spirited contrarians

December 6, 2012

In expressing doubts about the wisdom of allowing private, for-profit universities ("Charitable status, shareholder suspicion: Buckingham v-c's for-profit fears", News, 29 November), Terence Kealey, the vice-chancellor of the private but not for-profit University of Buckingham is, as he may know, following in the footsteps of one of the founders of that institution, Lord Beloff.

Writing in the probably somewhat unfairly maligned Black Papers, Beloff (if memory serves) said something to the effect that he and the co-founders of what was then the more modestly titled University College at Buckingham had not freed themselves from the shackles of government only to replace them with fetters imposed by business.

While my ideal university would not take the form that Buckingham now does, and my politics are far removed from those of its founders, I must admit to a grudging admiration for its contrarian spirit.

David Limond, School of Education, Trinity College Dublin

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