Our cowed leaders must stand up for academic freedom

UK“There is a crisis of leadership in higher education, particularly in funding bodies such as the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the research councils. That is a big claim, but what supports it is the story of how these bodies have been complicit with a Government that is making a definitive break with the 91-year-old Haldane principle. Named after Liberal politician Richard Burdon Haldane, chair of the committee that recommended the policy, it enshrined the notion that government should not interfere in decisions about academic research. For good reason, such decisions should be left to disinterested researchers pursuing knowledge, not politicians operating according to principles determined by ideology or party. But now, Whitehall recklessly interferes and its handmaidens sit in the institutions that should be defending research autonomy …” (more)

[Thomas Docherty, Times Higher Education, 9 April]

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