Storm is no surprise

August 20, 2009

Having steered an institution through the severe deflation that the Thatcher Government imposed on British universities in the 1980s, the present unrest comes as no surprise ("Storm warning: change now or perish, institutions told", 13 August).

Back then, the Government eventually made sufficient cash available, specifically to fund the necessary staff reductions through early retirement or voluntary redundancy, in part because many staff had tenure, which was scrapped in 1988.

In the meantime, the structure of university councils has been changed by government intervention through the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which has altered the balance between external and academic members.

The universities of Oxford and Cambridge have been able to resist by virtue of their structures, and the University of Buckingham, not being in receipt of a Hefce grant, also retains its chartered status. But now there is talk of interference in their admission processes.

I believe it is only a matter of time before there will be a call for a judicial review.

Raoul Franklin, Vice-chancellor, City University London, 1978-98.

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