Reject a police role

November 20, 2008

It is to be hoped that there will be wide support for the call for the withdrawal of Home Office rules requiring the surveillance of overseas students issued by the National Critical Lawyers Group and the University and College Union (Letters, 13 November).

To transfer the cost of surveillance from the UK Border Agency to the universities would result in a further reduction in the level of funding per student and would lead to a further drop in standards.

More importantly, to expect academics to act as police erodes the traditional separation between the university and the state and represents an attack on academic freedom. For that reason, we would expect vice-chancellors to oppose the proposals. If not, academic freedom will have to be defended by Sally Hunt and the UCU.

Pat Brady, Council for Academic Freedom and Academic Standards.

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