Two sides of the masons' mark

April 9, 1999

I was surprised to see a reference to the University of Kent in your article "Masons seek formal partners in academy" (THES, March 26).

About five years ago Canonbury Academy (as the Canonbury Masonic Research Centre was then known) was in discussion with the university about the possibility that the MA course in mysticism and religious experience, one of the courses run at Canterbury by our staff in religious studies, might be delivered through the academy. At that time there was no suggestion of any masonic connection.

The proposal fell short of our requirements in terms both of general financial viability and quality maintenance, and it was not proceeded with. The MA course as run at Canterbury continues to be a successful and well-regarded specialist programme.

The university is not considering any further proposal along these lines. It would not be consistent with the university's general policy for validation arrangements for us to enter into any link of the kind described in the article. Moreover, I can imagine no circumstances under which the university would associate itself with a masonic organisation.

Robin Sibson. Vice-chancellor. University of Kent.

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