I feel sorry for the reader who wrote in response to the report "staff 'swotted' by managers" and Frank Furedi's column (Letters, April 20). He must have been very unlucky in his experience of university administrators if he considers them all to be "at best only fourth-raters", since all first, second and even third-raters must surely be working at Whitehall.
Administrators, like other professionals, work where they do for a variety of reasons, be it location, working environment or even for "accidental" reasons. I can understand and sympathise with academics'
scepticism at some of the bureaucratic systems seemingly imposed on them by administrative managers.
However, a good administrator can spare academics much of the pain of necessary red tape, be it research assessment exercise data collection or European Commission financial grant reporting, thus allowing academics to do what they do best: cutting-edge research and/or teaching.
I suggest your reader try to show a little more respect to those administrators closest to him - he may find that he reaps the benefits in gold.
London School of Economics