Sir Howard Newby (News, April 2) does not see the contradiction between his vision of the civilising role of universities and the role of his funding council. The closure of civilising departments such as philosophy, history, languages and area studies is a direct result of pressure from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and vice-chancellors who are well rewarded for their loyalty.
When universities give up academic freedom and implement the policies of the government of the day, how can they be a civilising influence on society?
Senior lecturer (retired)
London Metropolitan University