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Caveat Emptor

The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

New College

The Guardian is today still printing comments repeating the false plagiarism allegations about the courses that will be offered by A. C. Grayling's New College of the Humanities. This despite yesterday publishing a letter from the Dean of the University of London's International Programme which confirms in its essentials the points I made in my last blog entry. The capacity of apparently intelligent people to shout their mouths off without the slightest attempt to understand the facts of the matter is something that never ceases to amaze me. Yes, we all have knee-jerk reactions to some things and I can see that in the present political context the funding of higher education is a controversial subject, but the English chattering class habit of proffering strong opinions without bothering with the inconvenience of facts can get a bit tedious. No wonder that in international comparison most of our so called "public intellectuals" are a bit, well, second rate. It would perhaps be unduly provocative to suggest that the establishment's uncritical worship of "PPE flash" might have something to do with it.
Staying on an Oxford theme, I'm a bit surprised that the Warden of  New College (the Oxford one that is) has entered the fray and condemned Grayling's choice of name for his outfit. All a bit unseemly. And come on, nobody that matters is going to confuse New College, Oxford with the New College of the Humanities. The argument that there will be reputational spillover seems pretty far fetched. Has Regent's Park College (Oxford) suffered in any material way from having to put up with the existence of Regents College (which actually is in Regent's Park) or Regent's Park Community College in Southampton? Undoubtedly the punters at all three of these institutions differ enormously (not least in the size of their own or their daddy's bank balance) but is there any serious evidence that the name similarity has confused anybody?

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