University inquiry urged

The Times has this report today on the second of Lord Radcliffe’s inquiries into the situation at Warwick University; plus a round-up of other student actions across the country:

A royal commission into the administration of British universities was suggested by Lord Radcliffe, the chancellor, in his report to the council of Warwick University yesterday.

This was his second report on the university’s affairs. He had been asked to inquire into allegations of improper administration made by some students and staff. The council ordered the report to be circulated within the university and looked at by various committees. Their views will then be considered.

Lord Radcliffe, whose first report last month decided that none of the information found by students in confidential files fell outside the vice-chancellor’s legitimate responsibilities, reached the conclusion that the situation he was investigating was not confined to Warwick. It would be a mistake to suppose, he said, that a similar, though not identical situation was not to be found in many other of the newer universities.

“The problem seems to me to be a real one and of national dimensions. It deserves national consideration and the proper organ for this is a royal commission.” In the academic body of the university there was widespread dissatisfaction with its government, or perhaps with the way in which that government had been working out. Lord Radcliffe said he thought that Warwick should accept a basic structure of government laid down by its charter, if only for the practical consideration that the university could not alter it under its own impulse. Nothing could be more helpful to the university’s government than if ways could be found of ensuring that the decisions and recommendations of the senate, the supreme academic authority, should be fully informed and as far as possible expressive of academic opinion.

He considered that the assembly, to which academic and administrative staff belong, could be remodelled on more useful lines. ” As at present constituted it seems to me better adapted to generate or intensify internal tensions than to contribute to resolving them.”

The university council last night decided that it would not be in the best interests of the university if Mr Gilbert Hunt resigned his membership. Senate and assembly had both called for the resignation of Mr Hunt, who is managing director of Rootes Motors, after the files controversy earlier this year.

Keele discipline; Disciplinary action is being taken against five Keele University students after a late-night, open-air party on the campus. It was staged on the night that two buildings at the university caught fire. Four students are said to have disturbed other students by playing loud music from a record player.

No punishment: No disciplinary action is to be taken by Liverpool University authorities against 171 students who took part in a sit-in at the Senate House at the end of last term, for which 10 students have already been punished.

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Author: Gerry

Retired college teacher living in Liverpool, UK.

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