UnHerd ✒ A university without a library is like a home without a roof.
And so, despite the insistence of many universities that their libraries remain “open online”, higher education has all but come to an end in the UK. A sector that remained open during the Second World War and provided a home to dissidents and the otherwise persecuted — from Theodor W. Adorno to Sir Ludwig Guttmann — has closed itself as quickly and as meekly as the church.
The University of Cambridge, where I am a doctoral student and which, in 1933, helped form the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA), seems to be leading the retreat: declaring an end to group lectures for the whole of the next academic year and generally falling over itself in eager deference to government “advice”.
Speaking at the Albert Hall at an event organized by CARA in 1933, Albert Einstein urged the audience to “resist the powers which threaten to suppress intellectual and individual freedom”. As contentious as references to the 1930s might be, when in our entire history has “intellectual and individual freedom” been as besieged as it is today?
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