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Calls for university ethics committees in light of damning Gaddafi donations report

1 December 2011

UCU says greater transparency needed on university donations as funding cuts will increase pressure on institutions to seek alternative funding sources

UCU today called for university ethics committees to scrutinise substantial donations in light of the damning Woolf inquiry into the London School of Economics' links with Libya.
The inquiry found failures of communication and governance in the LSE's dealing with the Libyan regime, prompting UCU to call for greater transparency around donations to ensure the UK's reputation for academic freedom is maintained.
The union said it was important there was proper vetting of donations, particularly as the government's university funding cuts would increase the pressure on institutions to seek alternative sources of funding.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The government's cuts to university funding will increase the pressure on institutions to seek alternative sources of funding. We expect that some will be wooed by, or even actively pursue, foreign governments and corporations, including some with dubious human rights and environmental records.
'We would like to see universities sign up to institutional codes on ethics and accountability. A committee with student and staff representation could then be tasked with vetting substantial donations and funding that universities are offered or apply for. This will ensure greater transparency across the board and increase confidence that the academic freedoms so rightly held up as strengths of UK academia are still held in high regard.'
Last updated: 11 December 2015