Letter: All above board 1

November 30, 2001

After reading Marcello Mega's feature ("If no rules have been broken, perhaps the rulebook requires some attention?", THES , November 23), I have to correct a few points on behalf of the reputation of the academics in question and the University of Cambridge.

Tom O'Carroll's Paedophilia: The Radical Case has been on the reading list of the MPhil in criminology for several years. It is one of many books that provide a broad perspective to graduate students for discussion.

The Institute of Criminology has a world-class library, and the content of research projects, courses and reading lists are regularly scrutinised by internal and external bodies. Researchers frequently work across disciplines and with enforcement agencies such as police, probation and prison services. This ensures that studies are conducted legally and ethically and provides insight into complicated, fragmented and controversial areas of legitimate inquiry.

Neither the research student nor the supervisor on this project is a member or is affiliated to any group that promotes any views on paedophilia. To accomplish accurate and meaningful research, all aspects of a subject must be studied objectively. Discussing an issue with an individual is not an indication of agreement with his or her opinions, aims or, most important, activities outside the research setting.

Graham Allen
Deputy secretary general
University of Cambridge

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