Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6220

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Vol cxli No 24

pp. 645–684

Report of Discussion

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A Discussion was held in the Senate-House. Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr Jennifer Barnes was presiding, with the Registrary, the Junior Proctor, one Pro-Proctor, and sixteen other persons present.

The following Reports were discussed:

Report of the Council, dated 7 March 2011, on amendments to the composition of the Board of Scrutiny and of the Nomination Board (Reporter, 2010–11, pp. 597–98).

Professor G. R. Evans (Emeritus Professor of Medieval and Intellectual History) (read by the Junior Proctor, Dr J. Spencer):

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, presumably the problem arises from the extension of anti-discrimination legislation to include ageism? In that case, would it not be more appropriate to scrap the idea of having a special seat or seats for any particular category? I see no comparison of the size of the two classes ‘under thirty-five’ and ‘member of the Regent House for no more than ten years’. I see no discussion of the validity of the principle of ‘representativeness’ of an age group or indeed of (comparatively) ‘recent arrivals’. Red-haired left-handed sons of clergy from the West Riding of Yorkshire will be camping on the Senate-House Lawn seeking representation any minute.

Report of the Council, dated 7 March 2011, on the future of the Reporter and other publications (Reporter, 2010–11, pp. 598–99).

Professor A. W. F. Edwards (Emeritus Professor of Biometry and Fellow of Gonville and Caius College):

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Reporter has proclaimed since its first official number on 14 January, 1873 that it is ‘Published by Authority’, the authority of the University, whose official record it is. It is therefore right that the Council should report to the University on this matter.

In it, the Acta contains the decisions of the University by Grace of the Regent House and the Reports to whose recommendations the more important Graces refer. It records the names of those whom the University has admitted to its degrees, the proceedings at Congregations of the Regent House, and official sealings. It is signed by the Registrary as Secretary of the University’s Governing Body, not as Secretary of the Council, as may be seen from the fact that the practice dates from before 1912, in which year the Registrary was assigned his Council role.

The remainder of the Official Part of the Reporter contains many notices concerning the holding of ballots and requests for Discussions, as well as announcements and decisions by the Vice-Chancellor, all of which are integral to the operation of the University’s constitution.

To recommend the cessation of print publication at the end of this academic year (Recommendation I of the Report) is premature. It is too important a matter to be considered so lightly. The working group that made the proposal considered only the cost-savings. One could run a university quite cheaply on that basis.

The Reporter and the Oxford Gazette are to the two universities what the London Gazette and the publication of Bills and Acts of Parliament are to the Government. The first question is: Does the Government have plans for discontinuing the printing of the London Gazette? An obvious next question is: Has the Council any grounds for believing that when the word ‘publication’ occurs in Statutes and Ordinances, electronic publication is sufficient? Is this now an accepted legal interpretation of the word? Any new Ordinance, such as that proposed in Recommendation II, should reflect the legal meaning of the word ‘publication’ and not attempt to redefine it.

Then there is the problem of the Data Protection Act. At present, the paper Reporter circulates freely throughout the world (‘Registered at the Post Office as a newspaper’, it says) but parts of the electronic Reporter are censored for internal use only. That cannot be what is meant by ‘publication’. Finally, further consideration ought to be given to the need to maintain archival records for the future. It is not sufficient for the Council to ‘suggest that a complete weekly archive copy should be compiled’. It should be a statutory requirement that such a copy be printed and preserved in adequate numbers, particularly the one that is actually signed by the Registrary. I might also mention that the Lecture-list year-by-year is an invaluable resource in the history of science.

A university that has kept its records on parchment and paper for nearly eight hundred years and published them in its journal of record for one hundred and forty years needs to think rather carefully about the next step. I suggest that the way forward is a small ad-hoc Syndicate ‘to consider the future of the Cambridge University Reporter in the light of the availability of electronic publication and the need to make savings in printing costs’. This would be the proper procedure since a Syndicate is a committee of the Regent House.

The Council, in submitting the Grace for the establishment of such a Syndicate, might think it appropriate for it to include the Registrary as a full member, since by Statute D he is the Editor of the Reporter (notwithstanding the recent practice for those to whom he delegates this duty to be described as editor), the Chairman of the Press Syndicate as publisher, the Keeper of the University Archives on behalf of the University Library, and perhaps a member of the Law Faculty versed in Data Protection.

This need not take very long. When the ad hoc Syndicate on the Reporter was appointed by Grace 2 of 11 November 1875, its Report took one week to write, was published on 23 November, discussed on 25 November, and approved by Grace 12 at the Congregation of 2 December. And that was three months before Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone.

Dr J. S. Myers (member of Trinity College):

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, my remarks concern the proposals relating to how the Reporter is published. My concern is that the changes should be planned so that they do not result in adverse consequences to the availability of the information presently published in the Reporter.

The first issue is the proper maintenance of the historical record. I have previously spoken here regarding instances when multiple versions of an issue of the Reporter have been issued, enumerating all such instances I could find in a detailed examination of both the Reading Room and Tower 4 sets of the Reporter in the University Library.1 It is notoriously easy for such changes to be silently made to online publications. Appropriate arrangements are needed to ensure that corrections made after the online Reporter is published are made in the form of erratum notices in subsequent issues, not changes to the originally published text, and that the online Reporter content is archived by the University Library in a way that will detect any cases where changes are, inappropriately, made after publication, archive all variants, and make them freely and readily available online.

Second, it must be remembered that the audience for the Reporter extends beyond the students and staff of the University: to alumni, other interested parties, and historical researchers, who may read the material not just online but through subscriptions, in libraries both within and outside the University, and through purchase of individual issues from the Press. Some material in or linked to from the online Reporter has hitherto been restricted to Cambridge users, and some material in the printed Reporter not made available online, but this properly remained available to interested people in printed form. As Alison Richard noted in her 2008 address,2 the links between alumni and the University have been deepening in recent years, and care should be taken not to disrupt these links.

There has been a recent trend to making supporting committee documents for published Reports available online, but available within the University only. In general, it seems doubtful that, if a document is available to thousands of people within the University, its disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act could be resisted, and it would be more appropriate for all such documents to be routinely published online for the world to see (whether or not directly supporting a formal Report), as well as being archived in the same way as the online Reporter. The present Report states that ‘Annual Reports of various bodies’ will from 1 April be provided online only, and it is most appropriate that those Annual Reports, as well as supporting documents, should be freely available to the world.

Social norms are moving rapidly towards information and documents not officially put online being copied and distributed unofficially. Anything short of making all the present Reporter contents and supporting documents freely available online to everyone is likely within a few years to lack credibility and result in the appearance of unofficial alternatives, less reliable and out-of-context; committee documents have been routinely ‘leaked’ online in the past few years. The Planning and Resources Committee document referred to in paragraph 1 of the present Report is an excellent example of such a leaked document.3 Remember that the Reporter itself began as an unofficial publication before being adopted by the University.

The present Report proposes no changes to what information is made available, and to whom, and changes to restrict availability of information would certainly not be appropriate without separate Reports and Discussions; what is published is independent of how it is published. The Report only deals with how the same information can continue to be made available in future through different media. Existing practice for what is published has worked well for a long period of time, except where attempts have been arbitrarily made to make some documents available within the University only, so the Graces referred to in paragraph 13 should be limited to such things as changing references to ‘printing’ to refer instead to ‘online publication’, and maybe explicitly requiring publication in some cases where publication in the Reporter was previously by convention only.

Appropriate arrangements will be needed to ensure that the material not previously made available online to the world continues to be at least as available as it was before to anyone who may be interested in it, both contemporaneously and for later research. This might include putting the material freely online for everyone, or online for anyone registering for access, or making printed copies of the archive PDFs available on request using print-on-demand technology, at cost rather than subsidized, for subscription and purchase at the CUP Bookshop as well as in the University Library; in general, I expect free online access to be most appropriate along with printed copies at the University Library. (Print-on-demand technology is already used by the Press in publication of the Cambridge Library Collection; a few copies of the books in this Collection are held in the Bookshop for browsing and purchase, while remote orders are supplied by the printers.)

Beyond restricted links to supporting documents, the claimed reason for restricting access to parts of the online Reporter has been requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998, and, specifically, concerns that access to personal data from outside the European Economic Area could constitute a ‘transfer’ contrary to the eighth data protection principle. In view of the decision of the European Court of Justice in the case of Lindqvist,4 it is doubtful that simply making data available to the world (on a site whose main audience is inevitably going to be in Cambridge) results in any such liability, a conclusion consistent with the position of export control law applied to export of intangibles,5 although geolocation technology is now widely used in cases where content can only legally be made available to some territories. In any case, the publication of personal data in the Reporter is generally done under provisions of Statutes and Ordinances, so falling under section 35(1) of the Act as disclosures ‘required by or under any enactment’, as well as being covered by the consent members of the University have given to be bound by the Statutes and Ordinances, and the information published is inherently non-sensitive and part of the public activities of the University, such as the award of degrees. (With reference to paragraph 5 of the Report, it should also be remembered that the award of a degree is through a formal Grace of the Regent House.)

Explicit provision in Ordinances that online publication includes publication to the world, along with new Ordinances specifying online publication of any personal data currently published in the Reporter otherwise than because of an explicit requirement in Ordinances, should resolve any remaining legal issues. There remain just questions of what form of online publication is appropriate for non-legal reasons. In recent years, it has become understood that concerns arising in relation to distribution of personal data online – and in particular with making available online of public records that were previously freely available in paper form, which is the case here – cannot readily be described in traditional terms of privacy as a form of secrecy, and are instead better modelled through the theory of contextual integrity developed by Helen Nissenbaum.6

So the aim should be to keep the content as available online as it is in printed form at present, while keeping it accompanied by an appropriate understanding of its context and the accompanying norms of information flow. At the same time it must be understood how norms have moved in recent years towards people making more personal information more freely available online, so my remarks about credibility apply here as well; the most effective way to preserve contextual integrity will be official free availability of information online to compete with unofficial versions lacking context.


Dr J. P. Skittrall (member of Wolfson College) (read by the Senior Pro-Proctor, Dr A. Winter)

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, firstly I believe I should note that I am a current subscriber to the paper edition of the Reporter, and occasionally I make remarks that are printed in it.

Today the Council asks us to consider whether at least a third of the Reporter’s regular readership constitutes a sufficiently small minority to discontinue publication of the Reporter in their preferred format. I wish I could say ‘don’t be so silly’ and end my remarks here, but I fear that may not have my desired effect.

It was interesting to read the report and recommendations referenced in the first paragraph of the Council’s Report. To say that this recommendation regarding the Reporter is probably the least controversial specific recommendation is, unfortunately, not to say much. The impression one gets is regrettably one of an absence of sensitivity to a number of delicate areas – and so I suppose I should not be surprised by the proposal in front of us today. At least it keeps our minds off the overweight elephant in the room mentioned by the working groups’ report and recommendations: the Unified Administrative Service. I wish I could honestly say I am surprised to see that aspect of the Report and recommendations ignored to the extent of the next Report for Discussion, but I am getting ahead of things.

The problem with this Report, in a nutshell, is this: the Reporter is the University’s official newspaper. Many of the items published in it have special official status, the integrity of which is maintained by the print form of the Reporter. It is simply not technically feasible to maintain this integrity with an online version (at least, not in a way that actually saves money). And that problem is already tacitly acknowledged, in that some issues of the Reporter each year are considered too sensitive to publish in online form, and are published in print form only. (And with that in mind, what are the sales figures and profit or loss made on the Class-lists issue of the Reporter, and, for that matter, the Lecture-lists issue?)

The difficulty with making official publications via a website is neatly summed up in the attempt at future proofing that proposes amending the Ordinances to add ‘Publication in the Reporter shall include publication on a University website’. So the next set of proposed changes to terms of employment that have to go in the Reporter (because they affect Statutes and Ordinances) can go on a personal web page somewhere in a sub-domain, with no links to it, and that will do? (If not, the rule needs to be rewritten so as not to allow it.) And what about something that is not required to be published in the Reporter, but has effect when it is? Under what circumstances is it published if it appears on a University website, and under what circumstances is it not?

Lest this question of ‘when is a publication a publication’ seem perverse, allow me to dredge up an example with which I have had to deal. In 2004, I represented to the then Vice-Chancellor that the then Registrary had acted in contravention of Statutes and Ordinances by publishing outside the Senate-House a class-list from which a name of a person obtaining classification had been removed. (The astute may note that this is no longer forbidden, which is a direct result of this case, put through quietly on the nod in ‘Yes Minister’ style after the Commissary ruled that I was correct.) The ensuing exchanges over what I considered an open-and-shut matter snowballed and need not concern us to a huge extent here (not least because I should have to start mentioning people who still hold office, and innocent bystanders almost caught in the crossfire), save to note that one of the arguments deployed in an attempt to avoid admitting the simple mistake was that posting a class-list outside the Senate-House did not constitute ‘publication’. Leaving aside the ridiculousness of the claim that putting up a piece of paper in full public view was ‘posting’ but not ‘publication’ – especially when the regulations required such posting as a form of publication – there is a serious issue that the point at which a publication becomes officially immutable (think of the origin of the term ‘set in stone’) can be subject to dispute. It is the reason for the existence of the Common Seal, and it is the reason for the existence of an official newspaper. It cannot be achieved easily – perhaps in practice at all – via a website alone.

I have no objection in principle to pruning the Reporter so that the print burden is reduced. For example, while the contents of the ‘Societies, etc.’ sections of various issues are almost always interesting and worthy, I do not think they need to be in an official newspaper in the same way that a notice of a ballot needs to be. I see the purpose of the official newspaper as being to make the official record of proceedings; it follows that if something is not part of the official record of proceedings, it need not be in the official newspaper.

I also have no objection in principle to a change in the cover price or the subscription price of the Reporter. I note, however, that the arguments in the Report before us conveniently omit the income from purchases and subscriptions, with the effect of disingenuously making the potential financial saving look larger. Or perhaps it is because if we distributed the economic costing carefully, we would realize that a large part of the monetary cost of printed versions of the Reporter is a freebie that should, but currently does not, appear on the already-bloated UAS budget?

And this leads me on to the last part of what I wish to say, and it is something that is beginning to sound like a broken record – except for the number of different voices in which it is being repeated. We cannot work out the true economic impact of discontinuing the printed publication of the Reporter, because we are not presented with sufficient figures. Indeed, without knowing the budgets to which various aspects of the income and expenditure are applied now, and what might be applied where in future, it is not even clear to me that the result of discontinuing print publication of the Reporter would be a net gain or revenue-neutral for the Chest. (This is hinted at in paragraph 6 of the Report, but the wording is far too vague to be certain this is the correct conclusion to draw, rather than sophistry to mislead the unwary. And besides, I cannot see that converting an effective donation into an actual donation, as it were, will last for more than the four or five years it will take to become a ‘historical anomaly’.)

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, in summary, I have no objection to a financial saving whose benefits outweigh its drawbacks. But I believe this Report concludes that its proposals represent such a saving only because it has failed to consider the drawbacks. Upon doing so, I conclude in the case of each recommendation either that we are dealing with a financial saving whose benefits do not outweigh its drawbacks, or that we are not dealing with a financial saving at all, or that the Report in front of us has failed to provide sufficient evidence to be sure of what we are dealing with.

Professor G. R. Evans (Emeritus Professor of Medieval and Intellectual History) (read by the Junior Proctor, Dr J. Spencer):

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the first issue of the Cambridge University Reporter in the Michaelmas Term, 1870, was published on 19 October. It contains a declaration of purpose. It is to provide a way of bringing together conveniently between covers on a regular basis all the loose leaves in different sizes on which the University’s business was currently printed and to ensure that important happenings such as the withdrawal of a Grace are properly and officially recorded and not just mentioned in a national newspaper.1 It was thus to become the official consolidated record of the University’s proceedings.2 It still is. The Reporter remains the ‘newspaper of record’ for the University.

To move to online publication only must constitute a departure which risks the continuity of that record. One may conveniently read any paper or parchment book in the University Library in whatever century it was written, with no more equipment than a pair of glasses, if worn. In the last decade, rapid changes in both software and hardware have meant that compatibilities easily break down and the danger of permanent loss of essentially ephemeral electronic records is now fully recognized. I do not think it will necessarily be easy to go into the Library in 800 years’ time and ‘just read’ the Reporter in which this will be published.

The stated cost savings seem too trivial to justify this loss of universal and perpetual accessibility. And surely providing equipment to enable the changing formats to be read into the future will not be cost-free? If the cost of producing the Reporter is a gift from the Press, the saving to the University must be so much the less. (Though I see there is a seductive promise that an equivalent sum will be given to the University for other uses.) A print run of 1,600 is not bad for an academic press and subscribers pay a subscription, unless they happen to be members of the UAS. Those subscriptions would be lost with a digital-only Reporter. What guarantee is there that the uneconomical use of computer printers to provide convenient paper copies for individuals will not add to the administrative costs in the Old Schools?

Will the proposed greater visibility on the University website and daily updatings do as a replacement instead of merely an additional resource? Or will it take Cambridge back to the muddle before 1870, where it is hard to be sure what is official business and what is not? The distinction will need to be maintained with some care once the clear line between official and unofficial business in the paper Reporter disappears.

The early Reporter also had an ‘unofficial’ forum. It says it:

will have no party purpose to serve. Political questions which are out of place in a University will be excluded from its columns. The following are among the principal objects of its publication.

1. To afford an opportunity for open discussion on all subjects fairly connected with the interests of the University.

Unofficial ‘traffic’ in the early Reporter was in fact quite wide-ranging and imaginative. It almost embraced the complementary functions of the modern Oxford University Gazette and the Oxford Magazine. There were brief articles, such as the one by G. M. Humphry in the first issue. He had taken two eminent professors, one English and one German, on a tour. The German said he thought the money spent on ‘the many grand’ buildings would have been better spent on ‘promoting scientific education’. If it had, ‘how very different would now be the position of Cambridge and England with regard to science’, he claimed. He also said he thought it could not be good for the young to live in College, cooped up together, fed and looked after. He thought it would ‘tend more to the development of their character and energies and the sharpening of their faculties, at that time of life, to rub more against the outer world, and provide for and take care of themselves’. His final thought, after a good dinner at Trinity, was that wealthy benefactors ought to be encouraged to build a laboratory. ‘There are plenty of riches here, why are not more laboratories built for your University?’3

Active use was made of the letters column (which evolved almost at once into ‘letters and reviews’). It was a means of raising a topic of concern in an informal manner. I can remember that in the 1990s at least one member of the Regent House writing to the Registrary to ask whether a letters column could be reintroduced. Are epistolary comments on the University website envisaged, and who will be the Moderator?

Here I find myself more in sympathy with the proposals but only if means can be found to ensure (a) that the exchanges which have constitutional weight are clearly identifiable and (b) we do not slide down a slope at the bottom of which the Discussion merges with the newsgroup, the forum, the campaigning email list, the Googlegroup. To read that the Reporter will provide links to ‘the ‘What’s on’ page on the University home page ( and on the ‘’ page (’ is not reassuring. The standard of speeches in Discussions is generally pretty high. Not so the standard of comments appended to stories in newspapers.

(a) needs especial care if there are to be daily updates. Authority to publish Notices, Reports, and anything else in the Official part of the Reporter will be difficult to keep tight under such a régime, with Council meeting only once a month.

Statute A, VIII, 1 and presumably part 2 of the Ordinances will need comprehensive review too,4 as presumably will all the periods of time stipulated for publication of this and that.


Report of the Council, dated 7 March 2011, on proposed office space relocations and refurbishments for the Unified Administrative Service (Reporter, 2010–11, pp. 599–600).

Professor G. R. Evans (Emeritus Professor of Medieval and Intellectual History) (read by the Junior Proctor, Dr J. Spencer):

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, is this the moment to embark on expensive provision for the University’s administration, when academic provision is under threat because the University cannot afford it? Will a proportion of those £9,000 fees be de facto going to fund this work?

That the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources), on the advice of the Director of Estate Management, be authorized to accept a tender, within available funding, for the building and all associated works in due course.

Seems a bit open-ended to me, but then I used to say that in the days when the Treasurer was given this authority again and again by Grace of the Regent House.

Report of the General Board, dated 2 March 2011, on the establishment of a Faculty of Human, Social, and Political Science (Reporter, 2010–11, pp. 600–03).

Professor W. A. Brown (Head of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences) (read by Professor A. M. Gamble, Deputy Chairman of the Council of the School):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, for historical reasons, a number of the social sciences in Cambridge have lacked the critical mass and the institutional base with which to fulfil their potential. The General Board’s Review of the Social Sciences made a number of recommendations for structural change to help rectify this. Over the course of 2010, these were the subject of substantial discussions among the Departments concerned. This Report sets out their agreed conclusion on how they might be reconfigured.

The new Faculty will bring together all the institutions in the Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology and the Faculty of Politics, Psychology, Sociology, and International Studies, as well as the interdisciplinary area centres of African, Latin-American, and South Asian Studies, plus Development Studies. The research and teaching of these subjects has, in general, been nationally and internationally outstanding. But with changing student subject preferences, the substantial increase in these Departments’ graduate student numbers, and shifts in the research funding climate, the new Faculty gives an opportunity to rethink administrative structures.

The new Faculty will be organized through three Departments: Archaeology and Anthropology, Social Sciences, and Politics and International Studies. The aim is to allow these Departments to continue to raise their research and teaching profile, while securing economies of scale, enhancing administrative effectiveness, and reducing burdens on University Teaching Officers. It is anticipated that the new structure will improve the experience of postgraduate students, particularly at the Ph.D. level. It will also be congruent with, and thereby strengthen, the administration of a new Tripos that is currently under development.

The School of the Humanities and Social Sciences commends this proposal for a Faculty of Human, Social, and Political Science and looks forward with enthusiasm to the scope it will offer to enhance the research and teaching of the subjects concerned.

Dr K. M. Greenbank (Centre of South Asian Studies):

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Centre of South Asian Studies will be moving into the new building at 7 West Road later this year. We have been involved in long discussions about the nature of the collaboration we are to have in an exciting new space which, we feel, holds great potential for the future development of all seven institutions involved, nearly all of whom focus on inter-disciplinary studies. The idea of such a collaboration is an interesting prospect. The units in the new building, with the exception of CRASSH, will form one of the Departments within the new Faculty of Human, Social, and Political Science.

We are all aware of the need to make savings within our School, and all acknowledge that the new Faculty has been identified as one way to make such savings, although I am not sure any of us quite understand why. We all acknowledge the potential for greater interaction that initiatives such as the new building at 7 West Road will afford. I am not, however, sure of the reasons why this new Faculty is the right vehicle in which to drive change forward, especially given that its nature raises concerns.

Firstly, I am concerned by the pace at which this is taking place and by the lack of clarity and transparency in the process by which it is done. The process has been a disaster for staff morale in all of the centres, and threatens to push out some extremely capable, experienced, and essential members of staff.

The speed of the process is also worrying. A new Faculty is planned, which will become operational in a matter of months, for which there is as yet, we are told, no administrative structure even envisaged. If we are to accept new students in October into a structure designed so quickly, and with so little time for staff members to familiarize themselves with the way in which it all fits together, then those students will encounter administrative chaos when they arrive. We are in a position now where we cannot even give our prospective M.Phil. students the most basic information they will need when beginning their course.

It is proposed that five study centres will move in together into a Department which has at its core the Department of Politics and International Studies. We are all very inter-disciplinary in nature; the new M.Phil. in Modern South Asian Studies, for example, currently has students working on a wide range of subjects, and has, in its two years, included work on history, politics, development, art, business, finance, to name a few. If we are to be so closely associated with one single Department, this will naturally threaten our inter-disciplinary nature. It is this nature which is the greatest strength of our regional studies centres, and makes them such exciting places for academics to work in.

We are a small, but extremely important and highly valued resource centre. We have spent many years increasing our influence within South Asian studies around the globe, and we are recognized as a leader in our field. Our archive is one of the treasures of the University’s collections, and we have successfully launched large parts of it online, to much international recognition. In film-archive work, we are a pioneering institution, managing to gain frequent world headlines and enormous numbers of online visitors from our use of our collections, all with a tiny budget.

At a time when the influence of South Asia is growing rapidly, when India, in particular, is in a period of rapid growth, both in terms of its economy and political influence, when Pakistan and Afghanistan feature so heavily in the news and in international political discussion, we should be looking to increase our research and teaching in these areas. Other universities have seen this opportunity and are rapidly increasing their resources to allow them to provide a greater level of support for an expected increased level of interest in South Asia. We should not, at such a time, be looking for economies of scale, or rationalizations, but should be loudly proclaiming the importance and extent of our current South Asian resources, extending our current leadership in the field, in the face of rapid expansion programmes at Oxford and King’s College London in particular, and advertising widely that we are already in a strong position from which to grow in the future.

Dr K. B. Pretty (Chair of the Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology) (read by Dr D. Sneath, Head of the Department of Social Anthropology):

I write as Chair of the Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology, which currently includes the Departments of Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, and Social Anthropology, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Haddon Library, and various research centres and units.

While we did not, and do not, agree with all the findings of the Review Committee, and have at times been irritated by reading reports which could not be discussed, we welcome the proposal to establish a new Faculty of Human, Social, and Political Science. Within this new Faculty we will merge to form a new, large Department of Archaeology and Anthropology. Archaeology and Anthropology account for more than a third of the research funding, and a significant proportion of the doctoral students, of the School of [the] Humanities and Social Sciences, so there is much at stake if we are to ensure the continued health of these disciplines in the School.

The complexities of the merger should not be minimized: the new Department will be housed in ten separate locations across the University, and Archaeology and Anthropology come under separate RAE/REF panels, and the Ancient Near East languages come under a third. Nevertheless, the combination of Archaeology and Anthropology has been highly successful over many decades and has been copied in the UK by other Russell Group universities. It is also the normal combination in North American universities, where Archaeology and Anthropology are studied together as a matter of course. It will be important to continue to nurture the special identities of our disciplines, but we are resolved to work together under a new scheme of governance.

We are also looking forward to playing our part in the new Triposes currently being planned by a committee under the chairmanship of Dr Good. We feel that the changes proposed provide the impetus for new activity across our disciplines and, more widely, across the social and human sciences as well as in the study of ancient languages. The new Triposes will provide opportunities for students to create new academic combinations as well as to follow traditional patterns of study. Moreover, new academic combinations in teaching should enhance research activity across the new Department, facilitating new interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary collaborations. We therefore welcome this proposal.

This statement has the support of the Heads of the Departments of Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, and Social Anthropology, and the Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Report of the General Board, dated 2 March 2011, on the establishment of a Professorship of Molecular Physiology and Pathology (Reporter, 2010–11, p. 603).

No remarks were made on this Report.