Said Business School - Verbatim Report of Proceedings in Congregation - (2) To No 4442



<br /> Oxford University Gazette: Said Business School - Debate<br /> (supplement)

Oxford University Gazette

Said Business School: Verbatim Report of Proceedings in
Congregation

Supplement (2) to Gazette No. 4442
Monday, 23 June 1997

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In the debate held in Congregation on 17
June 1997
on the Special Resolution concerning the Said Business School (see
below),
speeches were made by the following:




The special resolution read as follows:

That this House

(a) endorse the development of the School of Management
Studies, to
be renamed the Said Business School in the event of a benefaction
from Mr Said
being forthcoming, through the construction of a new building on the
Oxford
station forecourt site on the broad terms and conditions set out in
the
explanatory note to this resolution and in the decree published with
this
resolution;

(b) agree, subject to the acquisition by the University
of the
freehold of the site, to allocate a site of up to 2.4 acres for the
construction of a building for the school if planning consent for the
building
is given; and

(c) endorse the terms of the decree set out
[in Gazette, 29
May 1997
]
which Council will make if the
resolution is approved.

¶ Because of the need to publish the report as soon as
possible, in
order to enable the postal vote to be held before the Long Vacation,
speakers
have not been given the usual opportunity to correct
mistranscriptions or
minor errors, etc. in the record of their remarks.

The special resolution was carried on a division [For, 342;
against, 55
]. As
fifty members of Congregation then demanded a postal vote, however,
the
approval of the special resolution was not confirmed.

Ballot papers for the postal vote will be sent to members of
Congregation
immediately after the publication of this Supplement and must be
returned to
the Registrar not later than 4 p.m. on Friday, 4
July
, the
date fixed by Mr Vice-Chancellor for holding the vote.



Dr C.R. Lucas (Master of Balliol College)

Mr Vice-Chancellor, an historian should begin with an historical
reference.
So, let me recall to members of Congregation that this House resolved
to
establish a School of Management Studies in 1990 as a result of the
Moser and
Hay Reports. It agreed a fund- raising target of £40 million for
that
purpose. The School of Management Studies exists. It is presently
organised
upon the basis of revised legislation passed by this House in 1994.
Undergraduate degree courses are taught by its members and now there
is an
active and growing MBA programme.

The study of business and management is now a part of the University.
Is it
logical to suppose that it is proper to study the practice of
business in past
centuries or even in the 1960s and yet not proper to study it in the
contemporary world? Is it logical to suppose that it is proper to
contribute
to the formation of doctors, lawyers, clergymen, engineers, chemists,
civil
servants, and others who bring benefits to the world in which we
live, and yet
that it is not proper to contribute to the formation of those who
engage on
the great business of production and exchange in the world in which
we live?
Is it logical to suppose that we wish to communicate the values and
accumulated knowledge that are ours to some of those who shape the
condition
and progress of our society, but not to others? Would such
distinctions
properly respect the essence of our purpose?

The question before you today, therefore, is not whether there should
be a
Management School. It exists already. The question is whether it will
flourish
and grow with necessary speed into a school of great international
reputation.
It is Council's view that Mr Said's generous proposed benefaction
will allow
that to happen. It is therefore also Council's view that this
proposed
establishment of a Said Business School represents a most significant
opportunity for the realisation of a substantial item of agreed
university
policy.

There is of course a history to this proposal. We are all aware that
an
earlier version was rejected by Congregation in November 1996. The
proposal
now before you has been modified in crucial and substantial respects.
Council
would wish me to make three preliminary points. First, many
criticisms of
Council were offered at that time. Council believes that a reading of
this new
text will easily reveal that it has listened, that it has taken
account of
what was said in Congregation, and that it has produced the necessary
modifications through discussion with Mr Said. The new proposal has
been
debated and refined by the appropriate committees; it has been
examined and
re-examined on several occasions by both the General Board and
Council. Both
Council and the General Board support it.

Second, Council wishes to express its warm gratitude to Mr Said for
his
continuing commitment to the project of a Business School in Oxford
in the
months following last November's vote. Council wishes to emphasise
also his
responsiveness to the University's need to modify significant parts
the
agreement.

Third, it may be that in the course of this debate questions will be
raised
about the meaning of parts of the decree and explanatory note or
about Mr
Said's intentions. Council believes that Congregation should see the
changes
brought to the texts by agreement with Mr Said as a powerful
indicator of a
beneficent intention and future practice in regard of the Business
School and
the University.

Let me now turn to the text of the explanatory note and the decree.
You will
have read the text; you will be familiar with the issues which have
been
widely commented upon last November and subsequently. So, I will
concentrate
here most especially upon the parts that are new, upon the revisions
introduced in light of the objections raised in Congregation in
November.

First, the site. The proposal is to build the new Business School on
the
present car-park in front of the railway station. Let me emphasise
that this
site was not available when the original proposal was drawn up. As
the
explanatory note states, the site is a most favourable location for
the
construction of a visible, high-prestige building at a principal
point of
entry to the university area. In sum, whereas the Mansfield Road site
was seen
by many in Congregation to involve the removal of an amenity and the
disavowal
of a promise, this site must be seen as offering the rehabilitation
of a
post-industrial eyesore.

Furthermore, it was objected that the previous proposal effectively
transferred ownership of university land to the Said Foundation and
required
the University eventually to repurchase it in certain circumstances.
In the
decree before you, on the contrary, the land remains in the ownership
of the
University. In the event that the building ceases to be used as a
business
school, then the University and the foundation can agree an
alternative use.
This is what one hopes that reasonable people would do. If for any
reason they
cannot agree, then the University may acquire the building minus
whatever
proportion represents funding derived from other sources. But the
University
is not obliged to do so; it may, if it chooses, wait until the expiry
of the
lease and may agree a rent during that time.

Finally, the University will commit itself to the purchase of only
about
two-and-a-half acres of the station site. The remaining approximately
one-and-a-half acres will be acquired by the foundation for eventual
expansion
needs of the Business School. In effect, the foundation will hold
this
property as land bank for the University at no present cost to the
University,
since it has right of first refusal in the case that no expansion
occurs.

The explanatory note makes plain that there are costs associated with
this
initiative. Council must be clear with Congregation about this. These
costs
derive in part from the introduction of VAT on new university
building since
Congregation last debated this matter, in part from the diversion of
one-tenth
of the proposed benefaction to acquire the ancillary site, and in
part from
fees and consequential costs. This sum may well be reduced by
abatements, but
Council would not wish to offer that as certainty to Congregation.
However,
Council is confident - and when I say confident, I do not mean that
Council is
not confident -Council is confident that the sum will be reached
through fund
raising. Council offers as evidence the fact that another benefactor
is giving
very positive consideration to a gift that would cover a significant
part of
the funding gap, provided that this House gives unstinted support to
this
resolution and provided also that the building does not outrage his
sense of
what is architecturally admissible. Finally, Council does not believe
that
this initiative will distort the fund-raising effort of the
University. On the
contrary, there is good reason to think that this project will
attract donors
who would not support any other project in the University. Let me
turn now to
issues of governance. It was over these that many members of
Congregation
expressed concern in November. Council would wish, first of all, to
draw your
attention to clause 2 of the proposed decree. As the explanatory note
states,
it is Mr Said who desired the insertion of this clause and its
location at the
head of the decree. He did so precisely in order to clarify his
intentions and
those of his trustees:

`Notwithstanding any provisions of this decree the academic
direction and
day-to-day management of the School shall be entirely and
exclusively the
responsibility of the University.'

That is explicit; that is clear. Any ordinary reading of that clause
would
lead one to conclude that the foundation thus explicitly divests
itself of any
power to intervene in the academic business of the Business School
that might
happen to be implied elsewhere in the decree.

Second, concern was expressed in November over the composition of the
body of
Trustees of the Business School. At that time, the benefactor and his
nominees
outnumbered those of the University by six to four. This was seen by
some
members of Congregation to be a basis for limiting the academic
freedom of the
Business School and, thus, of the University. The composition of the
body of
Trustees in this present proposed decree is different. The
Vice-Chancellor and
the university representatives number four; the benefactor and his
representatives equally number four. The balance is made up of two
eminent
persons from business or finance. Their independence derives from the
source
of their appointment: the one by the President of the CBI and the
other by a
similar figure to whom an approach is under way (by way of
illustration, let
me add in parentheses that the original intention had been to ask the
Governor
of the Bank of England but he, with a striking sense of timing, had
shortly
before declared his intention to refuse all such invitations in
future).

Does this change make a crucial difference? Yes, it does. These
persons are
independent. The benefactor is drawing his trustees from among
prominent
persons of public service, finance, business, and academia. It is not
reasonable to suppose that they are devoid of independence of
judgement or
ability to be persuaded by sound argument. But let us suppose that a
clear
difference of opinion did emerge between the two groups or else that
some
unforeseen successors did not possess their qualities. It is not
reasonable
to suppose that the two independent trustees must necessarily also
share the
opinion contrary to that of the University or must necessarily be as
inferior
in quality as the hypothetical successors. The university
representatives
would have to convince by sound argument only one of these
independent
trustees in order to prevent any curtailment of academic freedom.

At what points does the body of Trustees touch the Business School in
a manner
that might alarm Congregation? The most sensitive point may well be
the right
to approve the appointment of the Director, which you will find in
clause 13
of the proposed decree. Council does not enter into the path laid out
in the
proposed decree in the expectation that the benefactor and his
Trustees have
the intention to interfere in a manner which the University would
deem
unwelcome or improper. As I have said, Council believes that the
benefactor
and his Trustees have given ample and tangible evidence of their
intentions
over the last few months. None the less, for the sake of argument,
let us
suppose that there is an irreconcilable difference between the
University's
representatives and the benefactor and his Trustees. The Director
will, of
course, be an established academic: presumably a professor either
from within
the school or recruited to it. That appointment is entirely for the
University: the decree gives the foundation no hand in that, although
Congregation has allowed benefactors or their representatives to sit
on
electoral boards. Therefore, there is no question here of the
appointment of
an academically unsuitable person. In the second place, Council would
wish me
draw your attention once again to clause 2. However, were reference
to clause
2 not able to resolve a difference of view between the two sets of
Trustees,
the University's representatives would expect to convince the
independent
Trustees of the soundness of their arguments, and by the soundness of
their
arguments. Indeed, if they could not do so, one might think that
would be
reason to pause and consider the soundness of the arguments. But let
us
suppose that the case is sound yet it does not convince. At that
point, there
is nothing in the decree that obliges the University to appoint a
Director. It
could quite properly appoint an Acting Director from among the
established
staff until such time as harmony reappeared in the foundation.

However, this is an extreme scenario. Council would not propose to
Congregation a relationship that it saw to be essentially
adversarial. None
the less, Council believes that this does show that even in the
extreme the
academic freedom of the University is not at risk in this proposal,
that the
University's hands are not tied. On the contrary, Council believes
that
establishment of the Said Business School by this decree would bring
close to
achievement a major objective of agreed university policy without
threat to
the integrity of the University's freedom.

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I beg to move the resolution.

Return to list of speakers



Sir Crispin Tickell (Warden of Green
College)

Mr Vice-Chancellor, members of Congregation, I came to this subject
new, as it
were, after what happened on 5 November; and I do not represent any
university
institution, I represent a college, and I came to it with, as it
were, fresh
eyes. We listened, we learned from the last debate, and we have
amended the
texts which were before you on 5 November and you now see in new
form. I
should also add that there has been throughout this process
widespread
consultation, and it has been a particular privilege to have been to
two
meetings with Wafic Said himself. I realised our great good fortune,
that he
was generous enough to come forward a second time; and as you have
heard from
the Master of Balliol, there are other possible donors behind him,
and not
only donors concerned with the Business School but also donors who
regard in
many respects the outcome of this debate as critical for donations
elsewhere.

As I judged the debate when I went home on 5 November, there were two
main
issues. There was the issue of the site, on which the Master of
Balliol has
already spoken. I think it is marvellous in a way that what was
previously a
very controversial site, about which many of us felt misgivings,
should have
been transformed into a site which is so obviously of benefit not
only to the
University but also to the City of Oxford. It makes a marvellous new
western
entry into the university town. There have been fears expressed to
me, and I
am sure to others, about what will happen to the LMS site, the old
station
that was there. Many of us in our childhood remember it actually
being quite
an active station, but it is now a Grade II listed building which is
scarcely
adorned by the tyres and other things surrounding it. People have
been anxious
about the fate of this building, and I think it is important to know
that
those fears have been recognised: something will be done about the
LMS
station, whether it is kept in place (which seems to be very
unlikely) or
whether it is moved elsewhere, where it can perhaps be better seen,
in fact
certainly be better seen, than it is today. The University is already
in touch
with English Heritage and with the Oxford planning authorities about
that.

So that was the first question, the question of the site, and I
believe that
that problem has been triumphantly resolved. There is then the
question of
control, over which the Master of Balliol has said a lot of very
sensible
things. I think it very important that clause 2 should be fully read
and
understood. I just add in addition that the benefactor will have one
representative out of nineteen or twenty on the Committee for the
School,
which already has outside representation, and he will have one
representative
out of the twenty-eight on the Council for the School. There have
also been
fears that in a more polarised and commercial society, rich
benefactors may
come to control universities or exercise some malign, self-interested
influence upon them. This cannot be so in the present case. I think
the
University's lawyers have done an excellent job. Academic freedom, as
you have
heard, is nowhere at risk; the tail cannot wag the dog.

Those were the two principal objections, but I also thought there was
a point
that needed more clearly to be spelt out, and that is about the
academic work
of the school. This is clearly of prime importance, and I think that
we need
to underline its interdisciplinary character. That is of course one
of the
reasons why the school should be in central Oxford. The school is not
about
teaching people how to make money; it is rather about the study of
the
character and functioning of the engines of modern society. As the
Master of
Balliol said, if historians study the same thing in the thirteenth
century, it
seems strange that they should not be able to study it in the present
or
indeed in the century which now awaits us. It therefore covers and is
linked
with questions of law, environment, economics, psychology, and
sociology, and
probably other things as well. I think that above all it must have
the ability
to understand and respond to change, because the Business School,
like this
and any other university, is in many respects at the cutting edge of
the way
in which we regard modern society and the modern economy, the way in
which we
are teaching about it, and the way in which we want people to go
forth from
this University equipped to cope with those particular problems.

I think, Mr Vice-Chancellor, that it is very important that this
debate should
focus on the essentials. In Oxford, scrutiny of texts can sometimes
be an art
form, but I rather doubt if this Congregation is the place for it. At
stake is
an important component of the future University, that is to say our
University. Consultation will of course continue. It is not just a
one-off
affair before the present documents were put to Congregation. Many
problems
can be dealt with when the machinery is actually agreed and can be
set in
place. As everyone who has had to run anything knows very well, the
arrangements that are laid down need to be handled with discretion
and
flexibility when it comes to making things work. And of course we
want to give
the Business School the same quality and above all the creativeness
which have
made Oxford what it is.

Members of Congregation, there is no third chance. We are lucky to
have had a
second chance. Let us decide this afternoon once and for all.

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I beg leave to second the resolution.

Return to list of speakers



Mr A. Murray (University College)

Mr Vice-Chancellor, members of Congregation, thank you all for
coming, from
your busy studies and laboratories. I hope, for your sakes and very
much also
for mine, that I never again feel I have to run up and down ringing
the tocsin
as I did last week. I felt like that Dutch boy who found a hole in
the dyke
and put his finger in it, except that this time the hole was not the
sort you
could put your finger into, but a hole in the dyke wall where the sea
threatened to wash away chunks of earth and the whole community had
to be
roused to put the wall back in place.

Since the Warden of Green College has put a little bit of
autobiography into
his speech, I hope you will forgive me explaining how it came about
that I of
all people, a medieval historian, thought he could see a hole in the
dyke
wall. It goes back to last 5 November, or rather to late July when we
first
heard about the Business School project. I said everything I had to
say in
Congregation on 5 November. The first thing that I saw was that it
seemed to
me somehow all a surprise; the site and everything seemed a surprise.
I just
asked a few questions and found out quite a lot about the new
Business School;
and it seemed to me that it was wrong, as I said in that
Congregation.
Eventually, everybody (rather to my surprise) agreed with me; I did
not know
if they would.

But in the course of that inquiry a few things emerged also about the
school's
constitution. Like most people, I hate small print, but a few obvious
things
stood out: the fact that the benefactor's money, £20 million,
was not
being given to the University at all, as the newspapers said, but to
a
foundation, of whose ten Trustees the University appointed a
minority, and to
which the University was committed to pay pound for pound. I was also
a bit
worried that high, City-type salaries at the school might upset the
precarious
balance that universities achieve anyway in this field. So I threw
some of
these things in to my speech, too; and, to my surprise, other members
of
Congregation stood up from the floor and said more under this last
heading,
the constitution, with much more knowledge than I. And more than one
member of
Congregation has told me since that it was this, the constitutional
question,
that decided his vote that day.

So then we heard that the Business School team had gone away and
looked for
another site, that a long trawl was made to find a site acceptable to
Mr Said,
and that eventually a choice had been made for this one near the
station. I
confess I was relieved. A decent building on the LMS site seemed not
at all a
bad idea and from many points of view a positively good one.

But there had been people uneasy about the constitution before, so I
took a
look at it; and here again was favourably impressed. There was clause
2, which
has been quoted by the Master of Balliol, standing right at the front
of the
decree. That was the main thing. They have done good work, I thought.
The rest
did not matter too much but I read through it, with its complicated
clauses
about leasings-back and repurchases, and I read, too, the long
explanatory
note, and noticed especially the arrangement about salaries where an
attempt
had clearly been made to square a circle. My first reaction, while I
did not
understand much of the document, was that Congregation had had its
say and won
important concessions, and the hard-working Hebdomadal Council had
looked
after the University's proper concerns very well.

Or seemed to have done. Because I still wondered, I consulted a
lawyer. In all
I have consulted altogether four lawyers: three professors from our
own
colleges and one, a longstanding friend, a City lawyer who had acted
for years
for another major British university in defending its academic
autonomy
against government, and who offered to look over the decree and the
related
documents. I suddenly realised why we pay lawyers such a lot of
money. All
four saw what I had only vaguely suspected. They saw broadly the same
things
if with different degrees of emphasis, and all were critical. The
gist was
that the decree was badly drafted, both `full stop' and from the
particular
point of view of the University, while considerable skill was
conceded to the
lawyers acting for the benefactor. (I hasten to say at this point
that if I
speak of bad drafting, throughout my speech I do not want to
criticise anybody
because I would probably have done it much worse myself. I think
there have
been big pressures which I shall come to explain later.) It was this
remark
that catapulted me from my chair. Echoing an idea expressed in the
November
Congregation, I thought, `Here we are, preparing to teach the whole
world how
to do business and we cannot, apparently, even draft a decent school
statute.'
Not a promising start.

That is all preliminary, said to help you evaluate what comes now. If
you have
brought your Gazettes with you, you may
wish to
refer to the clauses as I mention them, but I shall repeat the
relevant
clauses anyway for the sake of the others. If I speak critically, let
me
repeat that this is not a matter of personalities, any more than of
subjects.
It is a question of structures. If Mr Said were a lecturer in
medieval history
and it were the Murray Business School Foundation, the arguments
would be
identical. Nor would it matter if the discipline taught in the school
were not
management studies, but French literature, chemistry, or Islamic
studies.

To instill a sense of awe at what we are about to do, let me ask you
to look
at clause 18. It says what we are about to do is irrevocable, without
permission from another body. At a hasty glance our text seems to say
the
opposite. The explanatory note on this point says it is recognised
`that the
University must be in a position to amend its own legislation ... and
it is
envisaged that this will be achieved through the operation of clause
18 of the
decree'. Yet what clause 18 actually does is to put a veto on our
power to
revise our own decree. It reads:

`This decree may be modified and/or replaced in whole or in part by
further
decrees or statutes provided that the Trustees of the Said Business
School
Foundation shall first have approved the modification or
replacement.'

This mismatch between the apparent promises of the explanatory note
and the
substance of the relevant clause is not untypical. Clause 18 puts a
veto on
our legislative power. If this does not constitute an erosion of the
University's authority I hope someone will show me what does.

But now let us get to the core of the document, the matter of
academic
autonomy. I repeat clause 2:

`Notwithstanding any provisions of this decree the academic
direction and
day-to-day management of the School shall be entirely and
exclusively the
responsibility of the University.'

This is the clause that (I suspect) made us all feel so comfortable,
however
little of the rest we understood. Well, I have to tell you on
unanimous legal
advice that it should not. Even if we did no more than reread the
clause
itself we might sense danger: `Why should there be any
provision
contrary to this clause?' and `Which would a court uphold, if there
were?'

In the context of our decree this clause is in fact `pure
window-dressing' (to
use the expression of my City lawyer who has advised universities).
Why was it
put in? We may speculate. For lovers of academic freedom, anyway,
its effect
is the opposite of what they intended because it lulls the reader
into false
security. It is like those lovely clouds we see below us from an
aeroplane,
which look so like cotton wool that if you jumped out they would
support you.
They would not. Nor does clause 2.

Let me illustrate this by one of many possible examples. Suppose you
were a
Lecturer in Management Studies and applied, say, for a readership in
the
school. You are lucky and are summoned for interview. But what is
your
surprise when you open the door and see, sitting in front of you, as
chairman
of the interviewing panel, the benefactor. `But, but ...' you would
stutter.
No buts about it. Our University Statutes - which I did not ask you
to bring
because it would not fit in your pocket - say (on p. 302) that the
policy and
supervision of the School of Management Studies, including
recommendations to
the University's General Board for appointments to the school's own
readerships, are in the hands of a body called the School Committee.
This
committee (we read in another clause of the Statutes) has between
sixteen and
nineteen members, one of whom - if you now look at the proposed new
decree you
have in your hand, clause 16 - is appointed by the benefactor. He can
appoint
himself.

But this would never happen, you will say. But it certainly
could
happen, and law is concerned with possibilities. You may be wondering
at this
point how the provision I have described can coexist in the same
decree as
clause 2 with its `Notwithstanding ... [etc.]'. Are the two
provisions not
contradictory? Formalistically not, for what has happened here is
that the
benefactor has become part of the University by the mere act of
sitting on the
School Committee, which he has power to do, so `the University' still
has
exclusive responsibility for the school's `hands-on' academic
management. Down
through those cotton-wool clouds we go. (That is true, as you heard
from the
Warden of Green College, of a lot of other committee members, but I
am taking
one example.)

You may think this detail, that the benefactor can appoint one member
of the
School Committee, and possibly himself, is a small item and should be
overlooked, not least in the light of the character of the present
benefactor,
who can clearly be trusted not to behave in the way I have described.
(I think
I should add that every word of praise that I hear for the kindness
and
consideration of Mr Said puts me more on my guard against the nature
of this
decree, because not everybody is necessarily kind and understanding.
I will
mention one other feature of the decree in a moment which will, I
think, bring
that more to our attention.) But a point like this is in the end not
small.
It is like one dislodged brick in a big building or in the sea wall I
mentioned before. It cannot but get bigger as the weather and the
waves beat.
Law in practice inevitably evolves by precedent, and this, in the
context it
is set in, is unprecedented. Next time it would not be.

There are other points in the decree where the same consideration
applies, but
the one to which I especially direct your attention is about the
appointment
of the school's Director, the head of the whole institution. The
University of
Oxford has a fairly standard machinery for making appointments to
academic
posts, including high ones like this. An appointing committee is set
up,
representing the University as a whole. It is headed, say, by the
Vice-Chancellor, and draws from the faculty or faculties with the
relevant
expertise and within which the appointment lies. The power of
nominating to
the committee rests within the University except with medical
professorships
where the professor is also a hospital doctor, and then the local
Health
Authority nominates one or sometimes two members of the appointing
committee.
A donor who has funded a post not uncommonly has his views
represented on the
appointing committee by one member nominated by the University `after
consultation with' that donor. That happens, for instance, with the
Rupert
Murdoch Professorship of Language and Communication and the BP
Professorship
of Information Engineering. To read through the University Statutes
on this
subject is to sense a happy harmony between the parties involved. The
University decides, but giving heed to parties with a proper
interest.

When we come to the Director of the Business School there is a deeply
unsettling difference. I would say, in answer to the Warden of Green
College,
that although the study of the minutiae of texts is a specialisation
in the
University, it is also a specialisation of the Chancery Court, where
those who
do the examination are paid very much higher salaries than most of us
who do
it. And the Chancery Court is where this sort of thing might end up.
May I ask
those of you with Gazettes to look at
clause 13 of
the decree? The second half of it reads:

`The appointment of the Director shall be made by Council, on the
recommendation of the General Board, after consultation with the
Peter Moores
Foundation [which pays the Director's salary] and with the approval
of the
Said Business School Foundation...'

The clause adds, `such approval not to be unreasonably withheld',
whatever
that might mean to a court if a dispute should arise, and however
much it
might cost to prove it one way or the other. In a word, the
foundation has not
just the nomination of one member of the committee, or the right to
be
consulted about one member. It has an absolute veto on the
appointment itself.
It is worth turning to the explanatory note on this clause. It says:
`Council
and the General Board have endorsed these arrangements [i.e. those I
have just
quoted] and are confident that they will work satisfactorily.' With
respect
to the Master of Balliol, I have got to say that when I saw that, I
thought,
`Why do they say they are confident that it will work satisfactorily,
if they
really are confident?' They should not be confident,
because for
the first time since we became a University in the modern sense,
independent
of Church and State, the University has allowed a private body
outside itself
to veto an appointment. This arrangement is unprecedented, and by
endorsing it
you will be releasing a new and uncontrollable element in university
law, one
which can only have the effect of eroding the corporate identity
which allows
our research and teaching to function. And remember, once you pass
it, you
cannot revoke it without permission from another body.

There are many other provisions in the decree that invite comment,
like those
complicated parts about money and buildings. Others may wish to
comment on
these property clauses and their financial implications. My own wish
is to
concentrate on the fundamentals of the university constitution.

I will end with one more fundamental. The benefactor's place on
the
foundation belongs to the benefactor `or his successor in title'
(clause 3).
Now `successor in title' is in England a Common Law expression
normally used
in respect of property, and implies that the attached rights can be
passed by
inheritance, gift, or sale, and this to an individual, a partnership,
or a
corporation. So the benefactor's place on the foundation could be
sold to,
say, a big American corporation. Now the question arises whether this
also
applies to the other rights given to the benefactor in the document.
I can
only say that I have taken one or two opinions here and there is a
considerable opinion to say that the clauses would not make sense if
any other
construction were put on that first mention, and if this did not
apply
throughout the document. That would mean that the young lecturer
going for his
job interview in, say, seventy years' time, could, by the present
decree, be
interviewed by the representative of a big overseas corporation that
had
bought the right. This may or may not be likely but it is certainly
possible;
law is concerned with possibilities; and this law is meant to last a
long
time.

And you are being asked to pass this decree irrevocably as far as
your own
authority is concerned. The decree has embedded in it principles
never before
accepted by this University. Although I have kept myself in `purdah'
for some
ten days to study this decree, I cannot wholly escape news from the
rest of
the world, and understand that our Hebdomadal Council fought nobly to
have
these offending principles removed, up to the last hours before the
Gazette went to press. But the benefactor
would not
agree.

I shall finish with two remarks about gifts, and first about gifts
and modern
universities. Our difficulties this afternoon are partly the outcome
of a
problem no one, I believe, has recognised, and which affects all
parties to
our present debate. Last time round we were all comparing the
benefactor's
gift with past gifts to the University and saying how
big it was.
Quite right, except that it was not to the University. But we should
have
looked to the future. We turned that offer down and some people said
no one
would ever make a gift to Oxford again, but soon afterwards we heard
of other
gifts to this or that institution. And Bill Gates's gift to Cambridge
is one
that comes recently to mind. That has to be the trend, because money
has been
globalised. Electronics, and the dropping of exchange controls, have
combined
to send £20 million round the world in exchange dealings every
few
seconds, day and night, and the result for universities is twofold.
On the one
hand, like all public institutions from governments downwards,
universities
have to pinch and scrape. On the other, some individuals, doubtless
meritorious, become astronomically rich. One person could now
buy
a university, like a Van Gogh. This only matters if you believe a
university
is not like a Van Gogh but a place for the formation of minds, and is
there to
serve the whole of a society not just one part or sector of it; and
that, like
a bodily organ - a heart, say, or a liver - it can only serve the
whole if its
own functions are kept distinct. If you do believe this, it is more
important
than ever, because of the pressures I have identified, to guard its
autonomy.

My second reflection on gifts is quite abstract and akin to some of
Professor
Kay's own published reflections. A gift and a purchase are two quite
different
things. But the same is not true of a conditional gift. A conditional
gift
stands to purchase as genus to species. That is, a purchase is a
kind of conditional gift. And this means that the moment
a
condition is attached to any gift, it begins to creep conceptually
along the
scale towards a purchase, with a buyer and a seller, a bargain, and a
price.
The present negotiation, with all its conditions attached, has (it
seems to
me) moved several steps along this scale, and in that degree we have
to ask
ourselves, is the University getting a fair bargain? I do not mean
just in
money, or even in quantifiable services like maintaining buildings;
but in our
identity as a university, with the principles that have made us what
we are
and in some degree made civilisation what it is.

A few days ago I was shown a German magazine with pictures of Oxford
in it,
and it referred to us, as if there was no need to argue the case, as
`the
world's most famous university'. A few months ago the government
spent a lot
of taxpayers' money proving we were the best university in the United
Kingdom,
which we knew anyway. That is us. It is an awesome
thought, and
more awesome if we recall that it is not we who made it so, though we
may have
contributed, but many generations of our predecessors, not least
those who, in
my own childhood, came here to take refuge from universities under
external
pressure and whose sacred rules were broken. We are what we are
because our
predecessors respected the rules we are being asked to break now, by
relinquishing the authority of this University to another body with
different
aims and principles, and including that of an hereditary or
transferable right
in its make-up, including the membership of an academic committee on
grounds
other than impartial selection of the most suitable. The proposed
school will
be taking degrees of our University and sharing our resources, yet
the
University has been excluded from fundamental aspects of the school's
governance. We are being asked to remove stones from the dyke wall
that gives
academic life its special identity and permits it to function. This
is the
last moment at which we have it in our power to insist that the
offending
principles be removed from the statute before we pass it. I hope we
will use
that power. Or are we, under the eyes of the world, going to give it
away for
ever and betray our inheritance?

Return to list of speakers



Professor J.M. Finnis (University College)

Mr Vice-Chancellor, members of Congregation, like the Warden of Green
College,
I too am not a veteran of the November battles. I am here this
afternoon
because of something in my own experience. Eight or nine years ago, I
had the
conduct on behalf of the Board of the Faculty of Law of three sets of
discussions which yielded three benefactions by distinct donors, each
of them
a firm of solicitors: one endowing a Common University Fund
lecturership;
another, another CUF; and a third providing the funds on a rolling
basis for a
full chair in Law. In each case 100 per cent funding; not in every
case an
endowment, but in one case an endowment. In each case funding by a
working
firm of persons in business, one might say, with a very keen interest
in the
identity and characteristics of the appointees to the positions which
they had
funded.

My one clear memory of those discussions is the occasion, in each of
those
discussions, when the potential benefactors, the potential donors,
made it
clear that they not merely accepted but volunteered the position that
they
would have no right to be counted amongst the electors or selectors,
that they
had no voice or vote in the appointment of the beneficiary of their
donation.
And I remember a feeling of joy that this was a principle so widely
understood
and accepted that it could pass without discussion, and indeed on the
basis of
being volunteered by the donors. So I ask myself what this decree
before you
this afternoon says to such donors; and it appears to me that it says
some
donors have the right not only to be counted among the electors but
to arrange
that the University itself will have only a minority voice in
approving the
final selection for the directorship, which is a thoroughly academic
as well
managerial position. (The duties of the director include - I am
quoting from
clause 3 [i.e. of Ch. III, Sect. LIII, Statutes, 1995,
p. 301] -
`original work and teaching'.) And it says that some donors have a
de
facto
veto, a de jure veto, over the change of
the decree
in any respect. Such change requires not simply the approval of the
foundation, but the fourth-fifths majority approval of the foundation
and thus
the approval of the benefactor, his agents, and/or his and their
successors in
perpetuity, which will lend great force additionally to the presence
of the
benefactor or his or its agent as a member of the governing committee
of the
school.

It appears to me that the decree, with the best will in the world,
presents us
with an odious dilemma. Either Business Studies are something
different,
perhaps a mock academic subject, a sort of sham academic affair, and
so the
normal principles of academic independence and autonomy do not apply
to
Business Studies, which run in a kind of dim half-light on the
margins of the
University. That, I am confident, is not the basis on which we wish
to explain
our decree to other donors. The alternative is that this University
does no
longer uphold the principles and practices of academic autonomy in
the way
that they have been understood and were understood by the three sets
of donors
with whom I had my discussions, and that we will surrender those
well-understood principles to any donor who pushes hard enough on
something
that we at that time regard as urgent enough. Is there some escape
from this
unsavoury pair of alternatives? Can we say, `Well, Business Studies
are
indeed genuinely academic, but also very practical'? No: the Master
of
Balliol recited to you a long list, and fully justified list, of
subjects
which are eminently practical as well as eminently academic, and
there is no
need for me to repeat that list, which began with medicine and law
but
proceeds for sure through big physics and biology and mathematics and
almost
every subject.

So that argument, that Business Studies is simply too practical to be
left to
normal academic principles, will not impress donors. Should we say
that this
donor is after all, when all is said and done, a very big donor, and
that is
what makes the difference? Well, this is not and will not be a
uniquely large
donation. Of greater interest, I venture to think, to potential
donors will be
that this is not the gift, the benefaction, of 100 per cent or even
of 50 per
cent of the project for which it is intended. It is a donation,
generous I
trust, of 45 per cent at its high-water mark. In a few
decades it
will be much less than 45 per cent because, astonishingly as I think,
clause
12 of the decree provides that for the next 300 years the University
will keep
up this building, keep it insured, decorated, repaired, upgraded to
meet
changes in legislation, and so forth: for 300 years. So
before
long the benefactor's contribution will be a rather smaller fraction
of the
cost of the project. Yet he and his successors in perpetuity (we have
no idea
who will be his successors, or what they will be) retain
undiminished their
de facto veto and their weighty (weighted by those
vetoes) voice
and vote in our counsels.

And so I believe the dilemma remains. Either Business Studies are
publicly
branded today as inherently sub-academic, marginal, second-rate, or
this
University's concern for its own autonomy is to be sharply demoted to
the
second-rate. May I emphasise that the tail can wag the dog? The
Master of
Balliol has his himself emphasised that if everybody on the
university side
votes together and can persuade all the independent persons, then we
can
squeeze by, we can get through. Is that the way that we are in future
to
regard autonomy and independence, as something where we have a bare
majority
or minority plus the hope of persuading other non-academic persons?

Will we prejudice Management Studies if we say `no' to this decree
this
afternoon? I am confident myself that we will not. Already our
authorities
are confident that they can raise a sum equal to or greater than Mr
Said's. We
are legislating, as Mr Murray said, for a very long time, and as the
flysheet
has reminded us, we already have a school which few in the world can
match.
The necessary speed which the Master of Balliol referred to can be
kept up. Do
we signal to the world that we are in any way opposed to Management
Studies,
or that we treat donors capriciously? For my part I am confident
that it will
be well within the abilities of Council, the professional abilities
of our
colleagues in Management Studies and of others, to explain to all who
are
genuinely interested, and to the many potential donors both for
Management
Studies and for other subjects, that we reject this decree, and
if need
be
this benefaction, because we are unwilling to change the
basic
principles of academic independence and responsibility, and unwilling
to brand
Management Studies a marginal, second-rate subject, and unwilling in
the end
to depend upon a donor who will not distinguish clearly between a
business
deal and a benefaction.

I beg to oppose the motion.

Return to list of speakers



Professor C.P. Mayer (Wadham College)

You may wonder, Mr Vice-Chancellor, members of Congregation, why,
faced with a
set of highly detailed objections to today's resolution, the
opponents did not
see fit to discuss them in advance with the proposers. All of the
issues
raised by the opponents have of course been extensively discussed on
numerous
occasions by the Faculty of Management, by the General Board, and by
the
Hebdomadal Council of the University. All of these bodies, some of
which
include several prominent lawyers, have concluded that the terms of
the
benefaction are entirely satisfactory.

However, given the procedure which the opponents have chosen to
follow, I am
afraid that I have no alternative but to go through the objections
raised, one
by one, and to demonstrate that they are entirely without foundation.
I will
try and be brief. But I must apologise that, since the opponents have
provided
no advance warning of their concerns, my responses will be less
considered and
coherent than they might otherwise have been.

The image which the opponents would like to convey is of a University
faced
with an intransigent benefactor being forced to accept a benefaction
which
threatens the integrity, independence, and financial well-being of
the
University. Nothing could be further from the truth. The benefactor
has been a
remarkably loyal and dedicated supporter of the University, not just
to
Management Studies but to numerous areas of the University. He has
responded
to the concerns raised in last November's Congregation debate in a
constructive and co-operative fashion to a point at which they have
all now
been addressed. He has never intended to be involved in the academic
activities of the school, and that point has now been clarified. The
University will not get a better donor or a better donation.

The terms of the benefaction merely reflect existing practice in the
school
and in the University at large. There is currently no trust deed, and
points
of drafting will of course be taken into consideration when it is
written. But
there are no points of substance in what has been raised today.

I will begin by considering the question of the directorship. Let me
clarify
the position. The Director will be appointed by Council on the
recommendation
of the General Board in the normal way. Neither the foundation nor
the
benefactor will be represented on an electoral board, as happens for
some
other university appointments. The benefactor has explicitly stated
that he
does not wish to be involved in the selection process. One candidate
will be
offered for approval by the foundation, a foundation which has equal
representation from the University and the benefactor and two
trustees
appointed by prestigious independent organisations in business or
finance.
When would approval not be granted? When the elected person does not
command
the international standing which is required of someone appointed to
the post.
Does this set a dangerous precedent of outside interference? Of
course not; it
is a very weak form of approval. It is very difficult to think of a
circumstance in which it could create a problem, but if it did the
Business
School could operate perfectly well with an Acting Director appointed
from
amongst its professoriate.

Let me now turn to the school's committees. Again, let me begin by
clarifying
the position. The establishment of an Advisory Council was part of
the
original plans for the school. It was thought helpful, and indeed has
been
very helpful, for the activities of the school to have representation
of four
outside members. It is not interference, and the school is free to
ignore this
advice if it so chooses. This composition has nothing to do with the
benefaction. The committee structure, including the Council of the
School and
the outside representation on the Committee for the School, was set
out as
part of the original 1990 proposal. The benefactor will have one
representative and no special privileges on a council which will have
up to
sixty people, and one representative and no special privileges on the
Committee for the School which has between sixteen and twenty members
on it.
Appointments and promotions are entirely in the hands of the academic
members
of the school and the University.

Mr Murray has presented a picture of a collection of chinks which are
causing
the university armoury to collapse. All that Mr Said is seeking to do
is to
ensure that this project is an overwhelming success. He has no
interest in the
academic activities of the school and wishes to leave them entirely
to the
University. He, like us, appreciates that the creation of a
world-class
business school involves a partnership between business, government,
and the
University. The provisions regarding the appointment of the Director
and
representation of outside experts on the school's committees are
merely
designed to ensure that the Director commands the necessary respect
of
business, government, and future donors, as well as of the academic
community,
and that the school can receive adequate counsel from outside. This
is only
sensible: every other business school has similar committee
arrangements, and
both the school and the University welcome it.

What about the point that the terms of the benefaction can only be
changed by
a four-fifths majority? It does not seem unreasonable to say that
the terms
of the benefaction can only be changed with the agreement of both
parties,
including the University. This is a normal contractual arrangement
and it
provides proper protection to both parties, including the University.
It does
not constitute any diminution of university authority whatsoever.

Reference was made to the running and maintenance costs. It has
always been
intended that the University should be responsible for the running
costs of
the building. Furthermore, the terms of the agreement are such that
these will
fall on the school's income from non-publicly funded courses and not
on the
rest of the University. The suggestion that as a consequence this is
not an
exceptionally generous benefaction is, to my mind, an extremely
surprising
one.

The arrangements which are described in the resolution do no more
therefore
than encapsulate existing practices in the school and the University.
There is
no serious objection which can be raised against any of them. Of
course there
is not. Nor can there be about the academic study of management. I
recall that
Mr Murray wrote in the Times Higher Education Supplement
less
than a year ago about academics here in the University, indeed in
this
building today, `I am uneasy to admit into the heart of this
particular chosen
people, a tribe whose very discipline, I suspect, urges them to
worship other
gods.' These are the same prejudices as the ones which were voiced
in
previous generations against the sciences, medicine, geography,
engineering,
women, and non-conformists. It did this University no pride to
expound them
then and it does it no pride to expound them again today.

I, like my thirty or so other colleagues, came to Oxford in the
belief that it
had finally put past doubts behind it and was now firmly committed to
a
creating a business school of international distinction. We have
worked hard
to implement the resolution approved by Congregation in 1990 and we
have, I
believe, achieved a modest amount. At the undergraduate level we have
one of
the most oversubscribed programmes in the University; at the
postgraduate
level we have just started an MBA which attracts students of a
quality
equivalent to those going to the very best North American schools.
What the
past four years have demonstrated is that Oxford can
create a
business school of international distinction. We can establish
research
projects to look at the management of science and technology, the
management
of the environment, the impact of new technologies on corporate and
social
organisation, the management of public sector and charitable
organisations,
the political and economic influences on organisations operating in
developing
as well as developed countries. We can look at these issues in a way
in which
no other major business school in Europe can because they do not have
the
intellectual hinterland on which to draw. But we cannot progress any
further
without the physical infrastructure to complete the process.
Academically, we
have made more progress than was originally envisaged, but,
physically, we are
entirely constrained.

Mr Murray has suggested that it will not do the University great harm
to
reject this resolution. I beg to differ. The headline which appeared
in
newspapers after the vote in Congregation last November was, `Oxford
rejects
business school'. This came as a painful shock to the students and
faculty who
were under the impression that they had come to a
business school
in Oxford. The effect of a rejection will be even more pronounced
this time.
It will no longer be possible to hide behind the pretence of
rejecting a site.
We should not be surprised if a rejection is interpreted by existing
and
potential students, employers of our students, collaborators on
research
projects, donors to every part of this University and every college,
as
saying, `Oxford turns its back on business and government and has no
interest
in the questions of the day.' It will suggest that the management of
the
University, its faculty, the General Board, and the Hebdomadal
Council cannot
handle their own affairs and it will deprive the City of Oxford of
the
opportunity of renovating an eyesore in an important part of town. I
am sure
that Mr Murray will wish to make a virtue of the outcome and I do not
wish to
appear to appear alarmist, but I do not think that we should
underestimate the
lasting damage of a rejection of this motion.

What every leading university in the UK and US, including this
University in
1990, has recognised is that they benefit from having business
schools of
international significance. Without the site and benefaction,
Oxford's
business school will be an impoverished rival to its main
competitors. It will
not disappear, there are already too many commitments for that, but
it will
limp on to the academic embarrassment and financial cost of the
University.
With the benefaction, the University will have a school of whose
academic
achievements it will be justifiably proud. That is the choice before
Congregation today.

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I beg to support the motion.

Return to list of speakers



Professor W.W.M. Allison (Keble College

Mr Vice-Chancellor, members of Congregation, I serve as an elected
member of
the University Buildings Committee, as a lay member, not an expert.
However, I
speak today as an individual and as a working academic. Why should
ordinary
academics serve on such committees? Because I believe Oxford's
success
depends on the dynamic and flexible distribution of resources between
one
subject and another. (I try to play a part to ensure that this can
happen.)
Many of the most important advances are made on the boundaries
between
academic areas or by collaboration between disciplines. This requires
flexible
resources, but also a common ethos and a unity of purpose.

I welcome the setting up of the School of Management Studies
integrated into
the University on the same footing as other disciplines. I support
the
allocation of the site. However, a couple of remarks. The wording of
the
explanatory note to the resolution omits to mention a significant
problem. The
old railway station is, I understand, a Grade II* listed building.
Not only
will it have to be taken down and moved to a new location, but I
understand
that this is likely to provoke a public inquiry which could entail
considerable delay and expense. Mr Said is in a hurry, and the
agreement
appears to allow just one year to complete this operation.

Secondly, there are very few sites available in Oxford for expansion.
The
second part of the site with 1.3 acres of useful area is one of
these. It is
unknown at this time what the sensible and proper use for that site
might be.
The proposed arrangement with the Said Foundation means that this
site would
be effectively frozen out: it would be owned by the foundation, and
until such
time as it was agreed that it was not to be used for Management
Studies or for
some other use by the foundation which the University, with its
minority
representation, might not favour.

I would like to oppose the resolution because I think that the
proposed decree
is injurious to the goal of a School of Management Studies integrated
into the
life of the University. The decree is isolationist. It is
protectionist. It is
inward-looking. It sets Management Studies apart with its own
buildings
committee, its own council, a trust with a majority of external
members
clearly designed to build up a separate sense of identity. It will
make joint
initiatives between Management Studies and other disciplines less
likely.

The University is not a commercial organisation; there is no need to
tie it
hand and foot for 299 years. From the debate on the Mansfield Road
proposal Mr
Said, and any other benefactor, will know that, when this House binds
itself
to a long-term agreement, it will stand by it! It has agreed to
establish
Management Studies. If it were to agree, in addition, to accept an
outstanding
gift of a magnificent new building on this new site dedicated to Mr
Said's
name, it would stand by that pledge. Would that not be enough?
Further legal
restraints add nothing, but subtract much. The convoluted relation
between
landlord and tenant of this building seems calculated to generate
misunderstandings in later years. In particular, as has already been
referred
to, it appears that after the construction all subsequent costs will
be born
by the University although it will have a minority representation on
the
controlling foundation. A recipe for difficulty.

The proposed decree would form a dangerous precedent. If it could
find a
suitable benefactor, should History have its own external trustees,
its own
buildings committee? Which is only quorate when the Vice-Chancellor
attends?
With a Committee for History from which members of Congregation were
specifically excluded? And should Physics follow suit? I suggest
not. Should
we welcome a major benefaction for Chinese Studies if it carried with
it a
cocoon of external trusts and committees isolating it from the rest
of the
University? We should not. I suggest that the University should not
engage in
raising money to encourage fragmentation of its very purpose and
ethos in this
way.

I support Management Studies. I still hope that Mr Said will
understand our
problem and join us. Indeed I would implore him to do so. But I urge
you to
vote against this resolution and the harm it would do to the Oxford
ethos and
to the successful integration of Management Studies into the
University.

Return to list of speakers



Professor R.M. Goode (St John's College)

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I rise to speak in warm support of this
motion.

The debate we heard last time was of very high quality, and while I
then voted
in favour of the motion, I recognised the force of the arguments so
skilfully
deployed and so elegantly presented by Mr Alexander Murray. Those who
were
present will recall what he then said in opening the opposition to
the
motion:

`I stand here to oppose the special resolution. I do so only because
I
understand counter-resolutions are not allowed to special
resolutions, which
can only be supported or opposed. Otherwise I would have proposed
this
counter-resolution: that yet further efforts be made to find another
site for
the Business School. What I am against in this resolution is the
site, and the procedure by which a claim has been made
on
it.'

Well, the University has now done exactly what Mr Murray would have
urged it
to do; it has made strenuous efforts and it has found a site, a good
site, one
that is acceptable to the donor and is quite free from the objections
to the
earlier site made so cogently by Mr Murray and his supporters. In
addition,
numerous changes to the trust deed have been agreed which
substantially
reinforce the University's control over its affairs. These have
already been
presented to you and I need not repeat them. Of course, the control
is not
total, nor can it be in the creation of a major foundation of this
kind; but I
believe the major changes that have been agreed provide the
reassurances that
were rightly demanded at the first meeting.

Concerns have been expressed about some of the legal drafting. I have
some
experience of this, not merely as an academic commercial lawyer but
as one who
has practised, full-time and part-time, on both sides of the legal
profession
for over forty years. It has been objected that clause 18 requires
the consent
of the foundation to any modification of the agreement. Well of
course it
does! What would be the point of vigorously negotiating a contract if
one
party were then left free to change its terms unilaterally? It was
said,
concerning clause 2, that it was `pure window-dressing'. But
contracts
frequently contain provisions which may not be strictly necessary but
are
designed to convey the philosophy of the agreement. It was contended
that
clause 13 gives the benefactor a right of veto over the appointment
of the
Director. It does not; consent cannot be withheld without good
reason. It was
argued that under clause 3 the benefactor could sell his power of
veto to,
say, an American corporation. But if one were to seek to cover every
situation, every contingency, however remote, there would never be an
end.
Frederick of Prussia thought to solve every legal problem with a code
in
excess of 19,000 clauses - and was surprised at the lack of
enthusiasm with
which this was received! The fact is that the lawyers' love of
debating is
almost as great as their love of talking, which is considerable.
There is a
medical textbook which describes how to tell the state of a lawyer's
health.
`If you want to tell the state of a lawyer's health,' it says, `look
at his
mouth. If it's shut, he's dead!'

There will always be debating points on legal drafting,
for
language, particularly legal language, is inherently elusive. If,
when I die,
I am allowed to pass through the gates of Heaven - which my friends
assure me
is exceedingly unlikely - I shall seek one great favour, and that is
to be
presented with the perfect draft, for such a thing is not to be found
on this
earth. If the terms now proposed are interpreted and applied in good
faith -
and surely none of us would wish to impugn the good faith of either
side -
then with a little fine tuning no difficulties should arise.

There has been much speculation about the impact of the proposals on
potential
donors. I have had some experience in raising donations and I cannot
see
anything in the proposals which would deter prospective benefactors.
But I can
see grave problems if we rebuff for the second time Mr Said's
munificent
benefaction.

I cannot match Mr Murray in eloquence or my distinguished colleague
Professor
Finnis in academic rigour. What I can do, as one who has had no
involvement of
any kind in the School of Management Studies, is to express my
strongly held
belief in the immense academic value of this endeavour. We have the
opportunity to create an institution that will make this University
one of the
world leaders in this important field. We are not talking simply of a
school
of international standing operating within the confines of its own
central
expertise; we are talking of a school that has the potential to
interact with
a wide range of other disciplines within the University, enriching
them to the
benefit of us all and in turn being enriched by their contributions
to the
intellectual life of the school. Through Mr Said's munificent
benefaction we
can create a powerhouse of multi-disciplinary learning and
scholarship that
will add further lustre to this great University.

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I urge this House to give this resolution its
whole-hearted support.

Return to list of speakers



Professor J.A. Kay (St Edmund Hall)

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I shall do my best to keep my remarks as short as
possible, but I wish, before I get into the substance of what I have
to say,
to deal with some of the points of detail made on behalf of the
opponents of
this resolution, and I apologise if that is both slightly longer and
slightly
more tedious than I would wish.

A number of points have been made in the name of academic freedom and
academic
integrity. I want to begin by saying that I and my colleagues in the
school
are as concerned about academic freedom and academic integrity as
anyone in
this House, and before being any party to this agreement it was
natural for me
to go through it carefully, to discuss it with lawyers (and I have
done both
these things), and to visualise for myself what would happen even in
extreme
cases. I should say that among the many difficulties and problems
which I
believe I have to overcome in discharging the task which the
University has
given me, the danger of my academic integrity or that of my
colleagues being
impugned by the actions of people under this agreement is so remote
as hardly
to register on my radar screen.

Let me be specific about the principal points that have been raised.
There is
clause 18 in the decree. Professor Goode has already dealt with that.
What
that clause says is that it is not open to one party to this
agreement to
unilaterally modify it. That, we are told, impugns our academic
integrity.
Before I took this job I went to see Mr Said; I discussed the
benefaction with
him; I discussed his objectives in relation to the benefaction with
him. It
was evident to me in less than ten minutes that Mr Said had no
intention of
interfering in the academic affairs of the school. I said that at the
last
debate we had on this issue. However, I understood at that point that
many
members of Congregation who either had not met Mr Said, or who feared
what Mr
Said's successors in title, a phrase I shall come to in a moment,
might do,
wished more reassurance than that. We have now obtained that
reassurance in
the form of clause 2, which, if you refer to it, explicitly disclaims
any such
intention:

`Notwithstanding any provisions of this decree the academic
direction and
day-to-day management of the School shall be entirely and
exclusively the
responsibility of the University.'

I never had the slightest doubt about that issue. It is now spelt out
in black
and white, and what we are told by Mr Murray is that we should now be
suspicious of the fact that that particular provision was put in.

I fear that for Mr Murray, when one puts in specific provisions they
mean the
opposite of what they say. When Mr Said says he is determined to
maintain our
academic autonomy and integrity, this is interpreted to mean the
opposite.
When we say we are confident we will raise the balance of funding,
that is
interpreted as meaning the opposite. I have to say we on this side of
the
House, at any rate, do believe what we say.

Then we were told that our academic integrity was to be impugned by
the fact
that the position of successor in title was likely to be sold to an
American
corporation which would apparently wish to pay for the rights to
appoint one
member to the Council of the School and one member to the Committee
of the
School. At this point I really find it difficult to believe I am
living in a
real world, that this debate is intended to be serious. However, I am
quite
sure that when the final draft of the trust deed is put together, as
it will
be subsequent to its approval by this House, there will be no
difficulty in
incorporating, in the provisions of the deed, a provision which
precludes the
position of benefactor being sold to an American corporation. I think
members
of this House need have little fear on that point.

Then we were told that a lecturer in the school hoping to be promoted
to
reader would go in for an interview and find himself faced by the
benefactor.
Well, as at least most of the members of this House will know, when
an
application for promotion in this University is made, it is
considered by a
Distinctions Committee which is appointed by the General Board. The
only way
in which the benefactor would be there when the lecturer in question
went for
his interview for promotion would be if he had been appointed for
that purpose
by the General Board. I am not entirely clear whether in fact the
General
Board would be free to appoint non-members of the University for this
purpose,
but again we are dealing with a scenario which is simply impossible.

We are told by Mr Allison about the complicated provisions of the
lease. The
provisions of the lease arise only in relation to the use of the
building.
That is, so long as the building is used as a Business School, it
remains paid
for, maintained, directed, and managed by the University. There is no
question
of our conducting the affairs of the Business School in a building
which is
maintained, operated, or managed by any body other than the school
and the
University.

All of these points are elementary misunderstandings, which could
easily have
been resolved had those who have opposed this resolution taken the
time and
shown the courtesy to discuss the matters with those who are putting
forward
these proposals today. I regard it as extremely unfortunate that they
have
been brought before Congregation in this way: they are virtually
without
substantive foundation, and more than that, they represent an attack
on the
academic integrity and autonomy of me and my colleagues in the
Business School
for which I hope, these errors having been pointed out, those who
have
presented these arguments will ultimately have the grace to
apologise.

I would like to go on to talk on a much more positive and
constructive note,
because these points of detail are not the ones which I came along
this
afternoon to convey to this House.

Seven years ago this University decided that it wished to establish a
major
international business school. Today we are half-way through the
process of
setting up that major international business school, and what we are
asking
you to do this afternoon is to honour the commitment which
Congregation made
to itself and to us when it passed that resolution in 1990, because
you cannot
charge us with implementing your decision and deny us the means
actually to do
so. But I am not simply going to hide behind the fact that
Congregation has
already approved the establishment of a business school in Oxford
University.
Although I would emphasise that it has done so, I would reiterate
that that
decision was, I think, right in 1990 and it is right again today.

A few weeks ago one of our MBA students asked me whether I agreed
with him
that the achievement of a body like our Business School was to be
judged
ultimately by the achievement of its students, and I said to him,
`Well, I
half agree with that.' Certainly I think that judging it by these
criteria is
better than judging it by how well we are able to fill out HEFCE
assessment
forms. But it is not just by the achievement of students that a
university is
to be judged, but by whether they bring to the positions they enjoy
through
these achievements the intellectual rigour which they have acquired
as members
of this University. That is the test, or rather that is the
combination of
tests, by which Oxford in the twentieth century has been such an
extraordinary
success and has been by any standards one of the world's great
universities.
It is a fact so commonplace in Oxford that we almost take it for
granted, that
both the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of
Great
Britain today studied at this University. It is not just, I think,
that they
occupy these positions but that they do bring to these positions at
least some
of the values that we have sought to inculcate.

That is simply representative of Oxford's extraordinary success over
this
century in educating people effectively for major positions in the
outside
world. Why have we been so successful in that? We have been so
successful
because an earlier generation of scholars in this University 100
years ago
modernised the curriculum. They introduced a variety of new degrees
in tune
with the needs of the modern world. PPE (`Modern Greats') was in a
sense the
great success among Oxford's innovative courses in the twentieth
century. And
we have been so successful because there has always been within this
University a group of people determined to look outside at the world
beyond
Oxford.

But that world changes and goes on changing. A century ago there was
really no
connection between the University and business. Leland Stanford
founded a
great university but he had never been to one. William Morris, Lord
Nuffield,
founded a college but he had never been to one. Even twenty- five
years ago, a
majority of senior executives in British companies had not been to
any
universities at all. Today that has changed and the large majority
have been,
and an increasing proportion have had some business education as part
of their
university studies. Today 60 per cent of the jobs to which our
undergraduates
go are in industry and commerce. Are we to say that this is a world
to which
the research we do in this University has nothing to say, that we are
unable
to demonstrate anything of relevance to that world from the teaching
we do
here? That is what there are still some people in this House who
think,
people who point to the world of business and wish to dissociate
ourselves
from it, people who say, as Mr Murray has said, that their gods are
not our
gods.

I say to this House that if we wish to go along with that line this
afternoon,
then we have a University which will be increasing marginalised in a
modern
world, because the job of a university is not to worship
any
gods; the job of a university is to tackle whatever problems become
of
intellectual importance and of intellectual challenge as society and
technology evolve. To do that for the affairs of business is not
unimportant
and it is not, I believe, unworthy of a great university. That is the
exercise
which Congregation charged me and my colleagues with in 1990 and
which we have
come to this University in order to discharge. This afternoon we ask
for your
support in realising that, and I hope you will give it to us.

Return to list of speakers



Professor R.M. Dworkin (University College)

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I do not stand here to contest the central
importance of a
business school or the values that the Director has just described in
a great
university. Whatever Alexander Murray may or may not have written on
one or
another occasion, that is not the issue here; certainly it is not for
me. I
read this document with great interest. I, like other lawyers, would
find
points to worry about. Some of the provisions I find baffling. But
that is not
why I am here.

I am here because of one provision in this document, and that is the
provision
that gives control over, a veto over, the appointment of a Director
of part of
this University to a body on which this University is represented
only by a
minority of members. That seems to me wrong. It seems to me in
violation of
standards of academic independence that have been nurtured for
centuries but
that can be lost, particularly in today's climate of opinion, in an
afternoon.

We are told not to worry about that provision. We have been told that
it
contains that marvellous bit of lawyer's boiler-plate, that consent
on the
part of the board controlled by others will not be unreasonably
withheld. I
think most lawyers here will join with me in thinking that that is
slender
protection indeed. A genuine dispute over academic policy would not
be an
unreasonable ground within the meaning of that phrase. We are also
told that
in extremis, when the time comes, if things get bad
enough the
University can evade the terms of the document by appointing an
Acting
Director who will serve perhaps indefinitely. I would not want to be
in a
university that was evading the clear intention of a document in that
way, and
as a lawyer, because I too have practised, I would not long vouch for
the
security of that provision. I think it would ultimately be seen, even
in
court, as an evasion.

We are told, too, that we should look to the personality of the donor
(and I
take this occasion, joining with others, to express my deep gratitude
for the
prospect of such a gift), that we should look to his personality and
his good
will. But we should remember that the deciding votes on this board of
Trustees
are held by people who will be appointed by distinguished commercial
organisations (they will be distinguished men of business and men of
affairs),
and that we should repose some confidence in that fact. But as others
have
reminded us, this is a document, roughly speaking, for ever. It will
last, it
is intended to last, for a very long time; and it is not merely a
hypothetical
exercise, but a near certainty that we must confront right now, that
sooner or
later one day a set of distinguished business men or women may take a
very
different view on academic matters than our successors in this
University then
will take.

So we cannot, I believe, avoid the central issue of academic
independence that
is posed in that way. What is this central principle? We are told
that we
need not worry, again, because the donor or his successors in title
himself or
themselves will only be able to appoint a minority of people on this
board,
and that there will be independent members whom our representatives
can hope
to convince. But with respect, I do believe that misses the point:
the point
is not that others whose interest may be opposed to ours may control
this
process; the point is that we will not. We and the other great
liberal
universities around the world enjoy really remarkable independence,
independence even from democratic political institutions,
independence that no
other institution does or should claim. And we hold that remarkable
independence on a premise, and that is the premise that we have a
single,
sole, and undiluted goal, which is to pursue and report the truth as
we see
it. The addition is important because governments and outsiders may
say, `We
see the truth more clearly than you do.' That is actually the most
dramatic
threat over the centuries to academic independence. We reply, `That
may be; no
doubt from time to time it is so. But the enterprise will not succeed
unless
we make no exception to the idea that we appoint the directors of our
institutions, we appoint them to represent the values and
convictions, the
academic values and convictions, that are ours, no matter how much
those
values and convictions may be thought mistaken outside the
University.' I dare
say that applies as thoroughly to the academic study of business as
to any
other department of the University.

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I would have thought, I would have hoped at
least, that
what I have just said went without saying. Many of you will be
familiar with
the decision of a sister university of ours, Yale University, two
years ago,
to return a completed gift of $20 million. It had no legal
responsibility to
do so but when the donor said that he would insist, and thought it
only right,
that he had some role, some vetoing power over the appointment of
academic
officers, academic staff, the President of Yale said, `I am returning
your
money forthwith.' No one, that I remember, doubted that it was right
to
refuse that request. No one in the discussion doubted that had it
been made
before the gift, the gift should have been refused. There were voices
that
said that Yale should have kept the money and told the donor, Mr
Bass, that he
was seriously mistaken in his expectation. The President of Yale
said, `This
is too important a matter for us to accept and hold money on any
misunderstanding of that sort.' Of course, that hurt: Yale is rich,
but not
that rich. Of course it will hurt if through our action in declining
this
motion that leads to the loss of this gift (if, as people tell us,
this will
happen). Many others have said it will hurt more if we do not refuse
the gift.

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I do not believe that is the important point. We
and our
sister universities around the world are the guardians of what is
really a
remarkable trust; we are the guardians of privileges and we inhabit a
tradition, and it is our responsibility to protect those as zealously
as we
can, to be pedantic, if you will, in our enthusiasm and protection of
those
principles central to our organisation. I would find it embarrassing,
even
shaming, if we were to accept the idea that those principles can be
waived if
there is enough money on the table.

Return to list of speakers



Professor Sir Richard Southwood (Merton
College)

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I wish very much to advise, to urge, members of
Congregation to vote `yes' for this particular resolution.

It is not, I think, as we have had suggested to us, a measure of a
trade- off
between undesirable features on one side and really positive values
on
another. I think if you look at most of the items it is a
win-win
situ
ation. If we consider the school, we have already
heard
about the opportunities to be excellent. If we consider the site, it
is a
worthy gateway to Oxford. And then we come to the role of the
foundation, and
this is the cause, as we have just heard from Professor Dworkin, of
some
concern. But as has been pointed out, we are not dealing here with
the
appointment of academic staff; what we are dealing with here is the
endorsement of, or admittedly the refusal to endorse, appointments
that have
been made. We can have no Director forced on us by the foundation; it
is
simply a matter of endorsement. I would like us to look at it in a
positive
way, as the world of business giving a blessing to the appointment
that the
University has made.

We have of course recently changed the arrangements concerning the
Regius
chairs, but I dread to think what sort of debate we might have had in
the past
about the Regius chairs if some of the arguments that have been
advanced now
had been brought forward at that time. Members of Congregation, I
will not go
into the details of our relationship with the medical authorities and
the
Medical School, but as has already been indicated in relation to
appointments
there, we often have a representative of the Health Authority or
other body
present. The University has lived with this. The University has a
most
excellent Medical School; it is not corrupted by this sort of
influence from
outside.

Lastly, I think I can speak with some authority about the attitude of
benefactors. I heard not once but countless times, privately and in
public,
the concern of people about our last decision. I accept that there
were
important matters of principle in the last decision, but now I think
we are
dealing with `chinks', as somebody mentioned earlier, with relatively
small
issues. Mr Murray was looking out of his aeroplane and seeing white
clouds. I
think he is looking out and seeing a thunderstorm which is not there.
In every
case, if any of these chinks threatened to open, the University has
defences
in place that will prevent the basic freedoms which we all cherish
being swept
away. If we are able to give a large positive vote this afternoon, I
have no
doubt that it will send out a positive signal not only to this
benefactor but
to others, not only for the Management School but for many other
purposes in
the University. I urge you all to vote `yes'.

Return to list of speakers



Mr J.S. Flemming (Warden of Wadham College)

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I am reluctant to prolong this debate, but there
are a
number of points which I think it may still be useful to add, from a
slightly
different point of view.

Although I am a (not very dutiful) member of the Advisory Council of
the
School, I was reluctant to lend my support on the previous occasion
on which
the question of the site for the Business School came before this
House. But
all of the doubts that I had then, which related primarily to the
importance
of the commitments given to and by this House, have been resolved.
Indeed,
they have been reversed, as has been indicated already to some extent
by
Professor Mayer.

This House resolved in 1990 that there should be a £40 million
Business
School. Mr Said is offering to fund half of that daunting sum and is
insisting
that the standards of the school are those that were envisaged at the
time
that that estimate was made. And it is the reliance that people, such
as
Professor Mayer and Professor Kay, have placed in affecting their
academic
careers, and making academic decisions, and affecting the location of
themselves and their families that is rather more serious in fact
than most of
the practical consequences of the commitment of the Mansfield Road
site to
being a playing field. But the main thing that I want to talk about
now is
from a collegiate point of view.

A number of the things that the opposers of this resolution have said
have
suggested that one benefaction was at stake, and that the University
might be
being induced to grasp it by temporary financial difficulties. It
seems to me
that both of those statements reflect a departure from reality to
which
Professor Kay has already referred and which is also indicated by the
statement that we heard earlier today that the decision on 5 November
was
unanimous. That was not my impression at the time.

The difficulties that we face in the colleges are acute: more acute,
I would
suggest, than in the university departments. Simultaneously with
HEFCE's
concentration of its research funding, in which, as has already been
pointed
out, we have been extremely successful in this University, it has
embarked on
a programme of uniformity in the funding of teaching. We have just
heard that
an imposed fee settlement is going to cost the colleges collectively
about
half a million pounds, this year and in every subsequent year. That
is not the
first, nor is it the last, of such reductions. Most colleges which
have made
any indication as to what their fund-raising intentions are have put
a figure
of least £10 million on that activity. It is donations mainly
from people
in business which are crucial to the sustenance of the distinctive
features of
Oxford's collegiate and tutorial system. And I might mention that
that
collegiate system is also one of the things which should ensure the
integration of Management Studies with other studies, of the kind
that
concerned Professor Allison, and that it seems to me singularly
improbable
that, as one or two speakers have suggested, we could go away and
renegotiate
for a third time with Mr Said to meet the objections of some of the
objectors.
As I have mentioned, I have an example in my own college. All fund
raising now
involves reciprocation. We make people members of the Chancellor's
Court of
Benefactors, or we make them Foundation Fellows in the case of
Wadham. One of
our business men who has already made some generous contributions to
the
college is also a member of the Advisory Council of the School.

I find implausible the suggestions that there is more money waiting
to see us
support an alleged principle of academic freedom. I do not underrate
academic
freedom. I believe that this University is exceptional in the amount
of
freedom and autonomy and democracy, as is reflected by this gathering
today.
But there are many universities which do excellent work which enjoy
very much
less than we do, and the suggestion that a small breach in the wall
would lead
to a flood and an inundation, and a disappearance of the University
and its
freedom from the scene in Oxford, seems to me to be wildly
implausible in the
face of the evidence.

As has already been mentioned by the Master of Balliol, the
resolution of 1990
stands. No one has proposed that it should be rescinded. We have a
Management
School. We have a commitment to find £40 million for it. The
defeat of
the resolution today would put everyone else at least £20 or
£30
million further back in the queue, and I believe that the queue would
advance
very much less rapidly than it otherwise would.

There has been a handbook which suggested that heads of colleges
should spend
at least 50 per cent of their time fund raising. I spend 10 per cent
and am
not particularly anxious to spend much more than that. I would not
particularly welcome it being made very much more difficult to
preserve the
features of college life which we are all anxious to preserve. I
think that
the defeat of today's proposal would set us all back at least five
years, and
probably nearer ten, at a time of external pressures, including, for
instance,
the rumoured withdrawal of ACT credit which will reduce colleges'
endowment
incomes by another 20 per cent. So we are running up an escalator
which is
moving in the wrong direction if we seek to use fund raising as an
answer to
our problems. There are many things that are making it more difficult
for us,
and it seems to me to be unnecessary to add to them by the rejection
of this
resolution. I therefore urge you to support the resolution.

Return to list of speakers



Mr Murray

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I have got no notes; I have just got a watch,
because I am
going to stick well within five minutes.

I have listened with great admiration, as I did last time, to the
speeches of
the people on the other side, and when I heard Professor Mayer and
Professor
Kay talking I had a great feeling that I was swept away, as I did
last time.
And if I kept myself in `purdah', as I said, when I was thinking
about this,
this is precisely because I thought people were being rather swept
away. I
will just say three things, one about the past, one about the future,
one
about the present.

About the past, one of the reasons I did not take notes while points
were
being made against me personally was that I thought `I like my
colleagues on
the whole and I will spare them self-defence.' I anticipated all of
them and
I have witty replies for them, but I will not give them to you except
to say
that they are not actually relevant to the debate. One point
Professor Kay
mentioned was that the opponents, meaning me, had not had the
courtesy to tell
everybody else what I was going to do. In fact one of my legal
advisers sent
the entire memorandum of his Opinion to a member of Council, and that
is where
I learned that all of his points had been the subject of a struggle
by Council
until the last minute before the decree came in. And I approved of
what the
man had done.

I may say that I owe Professor Kay an apology, apparently, for having
raised
this debate. It seemed to me that this was a matter which most
certainly did
need debating, whatever else we did with it. If Professor Kay is
unused to
Congregation debates, that may be because this famous decision of
Congregation
in 1990 which was quoted, I think, six times in the
Gazette in November and is in every
document on the
subject, was taken, as one of them says, nem. con. Well
there was
nem. con. because there was hardly anybody there except
the
Management people and the University. That is faultless from a
constitutional
point of view, but politically I think there was a danger, and I
think if they
had read History and not Management Studies they would have heard
Disraeli's
voice at that point, saying, `Gentlemen, if the most important thing
in
politics is to know when to take an opportunity, the second most
important is
to know when to forgo an advantage.' I think that they would have
saved
themselves a lot of trouble if they had been more aware of the
debating
possibilities here.

Well, that is about the past, and I am not going to defend myself for
having
this or that view. I can change my views on all sorts of matters, and
my view
of Management Studies goes up when I read their works, goes down when
I hear
them debating because, I may say, last time and this time I have
stood in
astonishment as the most distinguished representative of Management
Studies
uses all this breath to talk about something that nobody has ever
raised, not
in this debate anyway.

That is the past. On the future, we have heard that everybody will be
against
us and nobody will give us any money. I have had a long, long talk on
this
subject with the London correspondent of the New York
Times
,
because he has been phoning me ever since the last occasion. We
talked about
the problem of university autonomy; that is the word I used. (By the
way,
Professor Kay, when you say that I say something is likely when I say
it is
possible, and when you say that it is academic integrity I am talking
about,
not academic autonomy, I feel this is why I am rather afraid of this
great
tank that is rolling in front of me, because there is not sufficient
accuracy
in these ideas. I am talking about autonomy, which means self-rule,
and that
means rule according to our own principles.) I think that autonomy
is of
fundamental value, and Professor Dworkin, I think, put it very well.
I will
not say much more than that, but the New York Times will
be very
interested in what we do. American universities are very interested
in it. If
the most famous university in the world says we cannot accept a gift
when it
involves a relinquishment of academic autonomy, that will be very
well
understood by quite a lot of people the world over, and it is a very
important
principle.

So that is what the papers will say. As for the predictions about
the
future of fund raising, I cannot see the future much better than
anybody else,
but at least I am not going to make certain statements. I do say that
what I
have raised is a matter of fundamental importance to our University.
I will
not try to double-guess what Professor Dworkin has said: that is for
the
future.

On the present, Professor Goode has sought to minimise my queries, my
demurs,
about the decree by saying that lawyers can go on talking for ever.
That is
the way (it is a rhetorical trick, and medieval rhetoric teaches you
how to do
this) to minimise the opponent's objections. What cannot be denied is
that by
passing this decree we relinquish the authority of our University
over an
academic appointment. I could keep you here for ever talking about
the
parallels. I have spent the last few days looking up all the
parallels they
have talked about, including the Regius chairs. None of these
actually apply,
but I will not keep you. We are relinquishing that control of an
academic
appointment, we are relinquishing our power to change our decree, and
we are
allowing a benefactor to have a direct role in the day-to-day
management of an
academic course. Those three points I have made cannot be denied:
they are in
that decree; they are in that decree, as I understand it, against
some of the
judgements of many of the people in Council, because a benefactor has
insisted
on that condition.

I have heard lots of things for and against Management Studies, or
Business
Studies as it is now called (slightly different). It seems to me that
either
it is a thoroughly respectable academic subject (and if so, let us
have it,
let us have a splendid school - we may be paying a high price for
wanting an
instant Management School; I think that that is what is the problem,
we want
it too fast - let us have it as a really first-class academic
subject, but in
that case why does it have to have a separate constitution?) or it is
not
quite a proper academic subject and then it is in a separate
institute. In
either case it is making a great hole in the side of our academic
constitution. And we are the governing body with legislative power. I
think we
will do serious harm to the autonomy of our great University unless
we ask
that this decree be revised in those particulars which I have
objected to.

Return to list of speakers



Dr Lucas

Mr Vice-Chancellor, I do have some notes, I do have replies to the
points
made, and I shall not deprive myself of making them.

I want first of all to be quite clear that we should all see Mr
Murray and
Professor Finnis as honest men, who are moved by genuine concern, who
I do not
think need to offer apologies for their concern. They do of course
occupy the
attractive role. If we were speaking of rhetorical devices, then
there is no
more attractive rhetorical device than to be the honest, simple man
who comes
to defend the great issues of the nation. As an historian, Mr Murray
is well
aware of the long success of that device: Cincinnatus from the plough
to save
Rome. Cincinnatus became lawyers of course this time, but then that
is our
generation. It is a role that has always enthused popular
imagination, and Mr
Murray referred to it when he referred to the heroic boy with his
finger in
the dyke, which became a fist in the dyke. I think he felt that it
was the
whole wall of the dyke. I stand before you belonging to another
tradition, I
suppose. I am an aficionado of western movies just as much as Mr
Murray told
us last time that he is, and I suppose that Mr Murray belongs to the
tradition
of the lone man who stands up against big government. And as we know,
in
movies big government always loses. It always gets shot. Or else I
belong to
the tradition of the man who appears before a court without a lawyer,
and we
know what happens to him. He gets sent down for even longer than he
should do.

I think there are three main points that have been made, and I wish
to address
them really, though there are one or two bits in between. First of
all, much
has been made of clause 18. I think that a reply has been offered to
that and
I just underscore it. What we are dealing with here is an agreement.
Would we
welcome it if Mr Said could revoke or modify his side of the
agreement at will
without reference to us? So when we put clause 18 in, are we saying
that we
are abrogating our free right as a sovereign parliament or are we
saying that
we are expressing our understanding that we must honour two sides of
an
agreement?

Secondly, we have been given a number of examples of the way in which
it is
supposed that we have allowed the benefactor to interfere and to have
a role
in the day-to-day management of the Business School. And we were
given this
extraordinary image of somebody coming into an interviewing panel.
(Let us set
aside the details of how these things are done, but it is a wonderful
image
really, of coming in through the door and seeing, face to face, the
benefactor.) I think arguments like this, and indeed much of the
argument of
the opposition, are really constructed upon a theory of academic
spinelessness. Is it really to be supposed that academics are so
weak-willed
that the committee, if it is in a position to appoint the chairman of
an
interviewing panel, is going to appoint the benefactor? Are all
these
academics, like us, so spineless that we will meekly do this? Even
if the
benefactor is to be found, or his representative is to be found, upon
an
electoral board, are we to suppose that all the other people in it,
like you
and me, are so spineless that we will merely follow unquestioningly
what he
suggests? I think that is fanciful. I think it is fanciful also to
think
that all this will end up in the hands of an American corporation,
but maybe
...

We are told that it will not harm us vis-à-vis
donors, and
Mr Gates's donation to Cambridge is cited. Well, I am
quite sure
that Mr Murray is a lot better at Latin than I am, but I think I have
the edge
on him in geography!

We are told that Management Studies is a people (or perhaps it was a
tribe,
was it?) who are not committed to the principle of impartial
selection of the
most suitable. I am not sure what connections people have had with
active
enterprises and businesses, but on the whole they prosper when they
do indeed
select the most appropriate people to do their work.

I think that the most impressive of the criticisms offered of what is
before
you was that offered by Professor Dworkin about the directorship. It
is a
theme that has run through but it was expressed with great eloquence
by
Professor Dworkin - a transatlantic oratory with transatlantic
references. And
Professor Dworkin has made the whole of academic independence bear
upon this
point. He has, with great skill and admirable elegance, called upon
you to
defend academic freedom everywhere that is contained within this
clause. This
is a grand and rousing call which is couched in the terms which we
all
understand and the terms to which we all respond. There is nothing
dearer to
us than our independence, nor should there be. Professor Dworkin
raised the
issue of Yale, who so splendidly returned this gift. I remember the
Yale case.
I think that the Yale case was fundamentally about the donor's right
to
appoint, and beyond that, I seem to remember, there was at least a
suggestion
in the newspapers (and I am trying to recall the article or articles
in the
New York Times, because the case did indeed occupy a
large part
of that newspaper when I was in America for a little while) that it
was also
about the donor's wish to determine what was studied, particularly
Western
Civilisation. I have a feeling, though maybe I am wrong about that
(Professor
Dworkin shakes his head in negation), but it was clearly implied in
some of
the coverage. Well, this is not a question about the right to
appoint. It is
certainly not a question about the right to prescribe content. The
opposition
is suggesting that we are losing our right, our ability, to appoint.
The
benefactor and his representatives are not gaining the right to
appoint. They
do not have the right to appoint. No Director can be forced upon the
University. There is an impediment, but does it bear within it the
whole
principle of academic freedom? I would contend that the University
is
certainly not shackled. It is not unable to resist. But you must
indeed decide
whether you think that the principle of academic integrity and
liberty is
contained within this clause.