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A bastion undermined

“Little by little, the Government is seizing control of our great universities”, writes James Tooley in the Telegraph.

Fifty years ago this week, Lord Hailsham laid the foundation stone for the University of Buckingham. Even back in the 1970s, eminent scholars feared the increasing encroachment of the state on higher education, with deleterious consequences for academic freedom if it was allowed to continue. If a university could be created that did not receive government funding, they argued, then it could escape the need for state regulations. Buckingham was born as a beacon for independence, a bastion of free speech and freedom of thought.

Fast forward 50 years. Our founders would be shocked to see the all-encompassing regulations emerging from the Office for Students (OfS), the higher education regulator in England which took over university regulation in 2018. There are 25 sets of regulations covering an enormous range of topics, including its current major foci, equality of opportunity and quality.

Thank goodness that the University of Buckingham is exempt from this interference! Wait a minute, it’s not:

A private university like Buckingham, which doesn’t receive any direct government funding, has to satisfy all but three of these 25 sets of regulations – known as “Conditions of Registration” – even though ostensibly the regulations are to ensure taxpayer value for money. If a university is found to be in breach of any of these conditions, then the OfS has a variety of sanctions at its disposal, including removal of a university’s title and status, even if these were awarded through a venerable Royal Charter.

3 comments to A bastion undermined

  • Stonyground

    Isn’t it getting to the point where a uni having its title and status revoked by the state can be used in its advertising blurb as one of its major plus points?

  • Isn’t it getting to the point where a uni having its title and status revoked by the state can be used in its advertising blurb as one of its major plus points?


  • Paul Marks

    Hillsdale reached this position decades ago – its “crime” was NOT being racist.

    Yes NOT being racist – refusing to record the race of students, Hillsdale had always refused to do that – and was one of the first universities to admit black students (and admit women) – it also had one of the highest rates of volunteering, and battle deaths, of any university during the American Civil War – but all that was not enough for the “Title X” (Civil Rights Act – twisting of) Washington D.C. regime – statistics (they demanded) must be kept so (the quiet bit) de facto quotas for black students and female students could be enforced.

    Hillsdale told them to shove their “Student Loans” up their backside – and Buckingham should do the same in Britain. Hopefully the courts will then rule that the regulations do not apply (as the courts ruled in America) – but I doubt it.

    Whilst they are at it, Buckingham should get rid of the “United Nations study program” they have – and thus free themselves of the socialist (and Anti-Semite) who controls the program. There is no point in Buckingham existing if it goes down the same socialist rat-hole as the “mainstream” univesities.

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