New head of Cambridge University suggests he will ditch plan to decolonise the institution

  • Dr Anthony Freeling said he could not given a definition of decolonisation 
  • He told a student newspaper this was because the word had been ‘misused’ 
  • He said he couldn’t see discussions about decolonisation at governance level 
  • Dr Freeling will stay in his temporary vice-chancellor role for nine months

The interim head of Cambridge University has suggested he will not continue plans to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum.

Dr Anthony Freeling, a management consultant who is acting vice-chancellor of the university until July, said he did not know what decolonisation meant.

He told a student newspaper that the word ‘has been misused to such an extent that I don’t think, if I’m honest, I can give an accurate definition’.

He also said that he could not imagine discussions about decolonisation making sense at governance level as the university was managed from the bottom up.

The interim head of Cambridge University has suggested he will not continue plans to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum

Dr Freeling started the temporary role two weeks ago and will stay until Professor Deborah Prentice, provost of Princeton University, takes over in nine months.

‘I want to hand over a slightly better university than the one I took over on October 1,’ Freeling said.

‘There are some programmes coming forward on mental health, on cost of living, initiatives in climate, all of those things that are happening.

‘I want to make sure we don’t suffer a slowdown that could naturally happen if there was a nine-month break.’

Professor Stephen Toope, who resigned as vice-chancellor last month, previously said decolonising the curriculum to make it more inclusive held ‘a lot of value’.

The university also investigated whether it had benefitted from slavery and created a Legacies of Enslavement Fund under Professor Toope’s leadership.

Dr Freeling also dismissed the idea that programmes providing better access to Cambridge for marginalised students would cause a ‘brain drain’ of privately educated students to leading American universities.

Dr Freeling, a former president of the Cambridge graduate college Hughes Hall, said of his times as a student at the university: ‘Most of us wouldn’t get in because the quality is so much higher nowadays.

Source: Read Full Article