Cambridge democracy

February 13, 1998

IF THE board of scrutiny at Cambridge University is "an important legacy" of the Wass report (THES, January 30) or, in Anthony Edwards's stronger phrase, which you quote, "the only important proposal to take root", then perhaps it should appear in the diagram of the structure of the university?

The board of scrutiny is a small autonomous body with statutory powers to investigate many aspects of the university, and to encourage good and enlightened policy.

In so far as Cambridge remains a democratic island in the managerial sea of modern higher education, the board of scrutiny helps to prevent it from sinking beneath the waves. Other universities may even find in it an idea worth copying.

Diagrammatically, it should be shown hovering in space to one side, between the Regent House (which elects most of its members) and the council and other delegated bodies (which it scrutinises).

A. M. Snodgrass. Chairman, board of scrutiny. University of Cambridge

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