1 FEBRUARY 1963, Page 6

Spectator's Notebook

'T BELIEVE there is a good deal of disquiet in academic circles about appointments being made to posts in the new universities without the positions in question previously being advertised. It is even rumoured that a University Grants Committee circular exists which advises those responsible in the new universities to fill pro- fessorial posts without advertising. In this way people can be chosen whose opinions fall in with the general plans for developing the univer- sities, academic distinction not necessarily hav- ing to be taken into consideration. If this is true, the argument seems to me quite false. Filling new universities with people in agreement with the opinions of the administrators does not seem the best method in the world for getting lively minds into them at their foundation, and the obvious unfairness of such criteria of selection is bound to arouse ill-will among university teachers.