Suspension and disbelief

April 17, 2008

The director of research and evaluation at the Higher Education Academy has been suspended from his post for a letter published in Times Higher Education that commented on the National Student Survey (Letters, 6 March).

The letter was written in a personal capacity.

His suspension concerns us for two major reasons. First, it is clear that this is a breach of academic freedom. Second, it has occurred in a UK organisation that claims to be committed to enhancing the academic experience and to "robust debate". What message does this send to students and to all other UK academics? What will be left of the academic experience if academic freedom, its core value, is undermined in this way?

Vaneeta D'Andrea, London (writing in a personal capacity); S. Lyn Fawcett, Senior lecturer, University of Ulster, and chair of University and College Union Ulster; Peter T. Robbins, Senior lecturer, development policy and practice, The Open University; Bjorn Stensaker, Forskningsleder/head of the Norwegian research centre NIFU STEP, Oslo, Norway.

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