The recent news that various U.K. Universities have received vast sums of funding from sources such as Bahrain and the former Gadaffi reigime, Kirstie Smith reviews the significance of this and whether it matters when academic institutions are struggling for money
Naturally, as students we would all expect the majority of university funding to come from the Government. Be it from tuition fees, research funding or council grants for investment we expect it to be linked with our government. This is a predominate view among students due to the enormous increase of university fees to £9,000. Thousands of university students arrive every year providing income from these tuition fees. An average 3 year degree previously cost £10,500 and now costs a massive £27,000 after the increase. Surely this would be one of the main sources of funding?
Shockingly, recent research has found millions of pounds flooding in from generous benefactors overseas. The most disturbing fact is that a majority of this money is coming from Middle Eastern countries which are notorious for human rights violations according to Amnesty International.
One of the most unbelievable funding issues to come into the limelight recently was the graduation of Saif Gaddafi, son of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from the London School of Economics. Saif left LSE with two degrees but also “generously” donated £1.5 million to the institution. Considering the Libyan terror regime shook the world by the devastation that was caused by Colonel Gaddafi, it is a huge discovery to find that he funded a UK university.
It appears that countries under these regimes are most of the overseas contributors to our university funding. Bahrain donated a “gift” of £3 million to Sandhurst Royal Military College near surrey. Bahrain is known for its human rights violations and torture, yet still donates money to a UK university for some unknown reason. In other cases, Durham University received 2.5 mill endowment from a former Kuwait Prime Minister, and Exeter received £5 million from Sharjah in the United Arabic Emirates and has disclosed that they are the single biggest donor to the university.
To me, these are quite sickening facts. These “donations” look like bribes or the case of “if I scratch your back then you scratch mine”, and if that is the case then what do these regimes want from our academic institutions? Donating millions of pounds to universities is odd behaviour; they are not in charge of the military and have no role in the Government. Many within the institutions have hidden these facts and claim that this is “academic freedom” to accept vast quantities of money without asking questions as to why they are donating this money. Universities are world centres of learning as a number of students are International, but how many come from Bahrain, Kuwait and Libya? In the Gaddafi case, you could almost understand the donation as his son completed degree programmes at LSE.
Not many universities are revealing who their “generous overseas benefactors” are but it is very worrying how these donations are coming from countries that are all under regimes and disregard any thought or consideration to the human rights of their people. By willingly accepting these donations, on an outside view it appears that UK universities are supporting these regimes that our government and armed forces are trying to destroy. Yet, Western civilisation claims it to be of upmost importance. What’s next? will we be finding out that Cardiff University is receiving donations from Iraq or the Taliban?
Yes this appears to be highly unlikely but reviewing the recent trends, would it really be that unbelievable?