Oxford answers back 1

September 15, 2006

Your article on academic self-governance at UK universities is unfortunate in building its case on an unrecognisable account of reform at Oxford University ("Stronghold of academic rule besieged by federal camps", September 8).

Your "Oxford insider, who did not wish to be named" is remarkably ill-informed.

It is not the case that all proposals for change in the university emanate personally from the vice-chancellor and are visited upon a supine academic community. To imply so is ludicrous.

Your source also has only the most fleeting acquaintance with the procedures of Congregation, the university's parliament. He or she is wrong about when it meets and why it meets.

Furthermore, none of this has changed at all in the time of the present vice-chancellor, who remains strongly committed to strengthening both academic self-government and democratic accountability.

John Wheater
Member of the Governance Working Party, Oxford University

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