11 JULY 1931, Page 28

A group of Oxford men and women, including the Master

of Balliol and Mr. Lionel Curtis, have put out a little volume on The Government of Oxford (Oxford University Press, 3s. 6d.). In the preface they disclaim any wish to propound a policy : their object, they declare, is merely to describe the present Oxford system, to indicate Oxford's problems and to supply the facts on which others might base a policy. Yet it is obvious that the book is something more than a record of fact, and that the authors, or some of them, are greatly troubled because they cannot fit the University's government into any known category. They find" no inherent unity "in it. "There is no person or body in Oxford competent to declare what the functions of the University are." But the resident teachers really control the University, through Congregation, and the system works. Moreover, the authors admit that it is adminis- tered very cheaply • even Aberdeen, we are told, spends rela- tively more on administration than Oxford. Perhaps, then, it would be wise to let well alone, rather than to try to re- fashion Oxford on a new and logical plan. The authors seem to underrate the common sense of the academic democracy and to ignore the danger of -stirring up controversy about systems and functions in a university. If they knew more a`bout London University's internal feuds during the last thirty years they would be less dissatisfied with Oxford's Olympian calm.

* * * *