Thomas Docherty, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Warwick and a member of the [Steering Committee](http://cdbu.org.uk/?page_id=74) for the Council for the Defence of British Universities, has just [written a piece in the US’s Chronicle of Higher Education](http://chronicle.com/blogs/worldwise/in-britain-an-assault-on-academic-values/31146) about the current direction of UK educational policy. Following is an excerpt.

> Now our universities are lurching their own way into precariousness, and in many ways threaten to overtake the United States on the path toward corporate thinking and placing commercial values above academic ones.

> The entire administrative apparatus of universities—including the councils that finance research, state financing agencies, and senior university management—appears to endorse a shock-doctrine series of government-directed “reforms.” These include tripling tuition, requiring that all research demonstrate an economic impact, an embrace of for-profit education, and a deference towards business practices. […]

> Under this thinking, our academic community is no longer a community of scholars: We are “human capital,” a “human resource” whose function is to sustain a system decided by senior management. Dissident views or thoughtful critiques are not to be held, much less expressed. Unsurprisingly, many in academe are disaffected and despairing as they see concerted attacks on fundamentally socially responsible academic and scholarly values: education for the common wealth and general public good.

> However, British academics are fighting back. This month a prestigious group of scholars formed the Council for the Defence of British Universities. While a number of organizations exist to represent academics in the public square, there are two things remarkable about the council. The first is that its founding members include an extremely broad church of distinguished thinkers. Aside from well-known public intellectuals like the naturalist Sir David Attenborough and the ethologist Richard Dawkins, members include former and current presidents of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of London; Fields Medal and Nobel Prize winners; senior politicians from the major and opposing political parties from the Upper House of the British Parliament; and senior academics from all disciplines and from a broad range of types of institution. These scholars—many of them in ostensibly privileged institutions or positions—are using their standing to defend the entire university sector.

> The second notable thing is the council’s unique mission: It is the only group that exists to put university education back into the hands of universities, and to do so with the determination to reinstate the primacy of academic values.