Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Warden of New College, Oxford on Grayling's New College for the Humanities

Details here from The Guardian. An excerpt:

"[. . .] The warden of Oxford's New College has asked AC Grayling to alter the name of his £18,000-a-year New College for the Humanities, saying he fears the project involving 14 celebrity academics could damage the reputation of the 632-year-old institution.

Curtis Price, the head of house for New College at Oxford University, where the philosophers Isaiah Berlin and AJ Ayer once taught, said he was "not very pleased" by the name, widely abbreviated to New College in the press and online. "It is an ill-chosen title for this venture in Bloomsbury, because it is setting out to provide an education similar to a college in Oxford or Cambridge," said Price. "I am trying to persuade him to use another name, and I understand he is considering other names," Price said.

Price said he was worried that "if this [college] is a farce, a joke, then our name is tainted". He added: "I can't think of any reason in the world why anyone who could pay £9,000 and come here [to New College, Oxford] and enjoy a further £9,000 subsidy, would rather go to the New College of the Humanities and pay £18,000." He added that his colleagues were also concerned that it was "a poor choice of name" and he indicated that Grayling had floated the names of Bloomsbury College or Erasmus College as alternatives, but that he did not expect the professor to alter the existing name as it had been registered at Companies House and with the Charity Commission. Grayling has declined to comment on his contact with Price. [. . .]"

The article also states: "Peter Singer, the professor and philosopher, confirmed that he had only agreed to take one lecture in the first year, but said he might do more."

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