Letter: Oxford welcomed gift from Flick

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The Independent Online
Sir: Even by the standards of the press coverage of the controversy over the Flick Chair of European Thought at Oxford, James Archer's letter (19 November) sets a high level of inaccuracy.

He says the university's ethics committee was against accepting Dr Flick's generous benefaction. It was not, nor did the university ever seek to repudiate it.

He then says that the Chair of European Thought would have promoted understanding between European cultures. As holder of the Chair, now re-endowed by a new benefactor, I find this gratifying, but why the use of the past conditional?

The Flick case, in which I concurred with the university's decision to accept the money and was grateful for it, and the Said case, in which, on the terms the donor seeks to exact, I do not, are in no way comparable and Mr Archer does a disservice to clear thinking about either by giving currency to his self-made muddle.

J W BURROW

Professor of European Thought

University of Oxford

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