Governor critic was censored

March 20, 1998

A row over freedom of speech has erupted at Middlesex University following the "censorship" of an article written by a university governor for the in-house newspaper, North Circular.

Governor and philosophy professor Jonathan Ree had written that Middlesex was operating under a culture of conformity. He has now complained to the vice-chancellor that a tradition of free speech has been quashed.

Professor Ree's article, "Middlesex and the Market", was to celebrate the university's 25th anniversary. The article was accepted but on senior management orders was later scrapped.

Joe Ormerod, head of marketing services at the university, did not object to the phrase "culture of conformity", but said: "I made a judgement that the article was potentially libellous."

Professor Ree said that negotiations reached an impasse, as the management was not prepared to run the amended article with clear indications of where cuts had been made, and why.

Suzi Clark, head of media relations at the university and usually editor of North Circular, she declined to comment.

A spokeswoman for lecturers' union Natfhe said that "there is widespread dissatisfaction". Professor Ree's article attacked "suppression" of a report on staff attitudes, ordered by the university.

Mr Ormerod confirmed that the second volume of a report from the Institute of Employment Studies was not made available to all staff. A first was published.

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