Keep commerce out

November 19, 1999

Business-oriented academics such as Michael Thorne ("Fierce competition in the virtual, global game", THES, November 5) and Marcel Van Miert ("Introducing a truly open market is the only way to compete", THES, September 24) naturally sell their MegaCorp vision of higher education. Some research requires large amounts of funding and some staff respond well to share options, but surely this is best done by forming separate private businesses?

To give in to rampant commercialisation will destroy academic freedom, independence and diversity. A unique selling point of a publicly funded institution is the vibrant intellectual environment it provides all of its members, allowing and encouraging them to think for themselves because they are sheltered from the pressures of global games of commerce.

Richard Wilson Bicester

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