No spying

May 1, 2014

One never wants to spoil a good story but it is important to correct some of the facts in “Exposé brought Warwick success” (News, 10 April).

It is not true that the university employed a detective to spy on David Montgomery and he did not, as far as I know, attend a meeting of the Coventry Labour Party. Montgomery was a visiting labour historian and attended a trades union-run meeting at Chrysler UK at the Ryton plant in Coventry. He was observed there by a member of the Chrysler security staff who reported his attendance to Gilbert Hunt, chairman and managing director.

Hunt, who was a member of the university council, and who was facing one of the many strikes that affected his company, wrote a letter of complaint to the vice-chancellor. The vice-chancellor sent him a formal acknowledgement and that was the end of the matter until the correspondence was unearthed by students rifling university files during a sit-in.

I am surprised that the allegations made by E. P. Thompson in Warwick University Ltd, that Warwick was a business run by the lay members of its council, are still given credence. These allegations were examined by Lord Radcliffe, the law lord, who was Warwick’s chancellor, at the invitation of the senate – he rejected them.

From my observation, which began only at the end of 1969, the council, which was chaired by a fellow of the Royal Society and former professor of Imperial College London, was no more interventionist than the council of my previous university, Leeds, and a great deal less than many university governing bodies operating today.

Michael Shattock
Visiting professor
Institute of Education, University of London

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Post-doctoral Research Associate in Chemistry

University Of Western Australia

PACE Data Support Officer

Macquarie University - Sydney Australia

Associate Lecturer in Nursing

Central Queensland University
See all jobs

Most Commented

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham