Memory and hindsight are wonderful things, not least when it comes to forgetting. So Alan Ryan tells us that when he arrived at the University of Essex in 1966 the vice-chancellor was telling students that it was their university and they should make of it what they wish ("Requiem for lost optimism", 10 January). They did, of course. Essex was one of the student red bases of 1968-69, from which the new chair of the Football Association, David (Lord) Triesman was briefly expelled for student activism. Was Ryan on the barricades 40 years ago? Somehow he forgets to tell us.
Keith Flett, London N17.