Letter: Oxford University's academic structure

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Sir: The letter you published from Alexander Murray of University College, Oxford, concerning the academic structure of the University of Oxford (21 May) was incorrect on several counts.

First, ad hominem exercises for promotion to reader and professor occurred on a regular basis long before discretionary pay formed part of the national salary settlements.

Second, the use of part of the discretionary element to fund such exercises at Oxford was a decision taken independently by the university, free of any external pressure.

However, the most important error in the letter was one of omission. What he failed to acknowledge was that the system of joint appointments between the university and the colleges allows lecturers at Oxford to enjoy total salaries and additional privileges greater than those of some professors at universities elsewhere; these are subsidised by the additional fees charged by the colleges and paid by the state for home students through mandatory awards.

Yours faithfully,



City University

London, EC1

24 May