Mr LUCAS: Yes, I think I probably do.
SIR ROBERT HAIL: You are much more enthusiastic about Oxford than some of the people who have written to us. Sir Lindor Brown and Mrs. Floud are going to carry the main burden of the questions this morning.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: I think, Mr. Lucas, you were present when Professor Palmer and Professor Hawkes were giving evidence?
Mr. LUCAS: No.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: At any rate, you may have seen in their evidence that they say (as you say) that Oxford is run by dons for undergraduates. Well, that is not exactly what you say. I think you say that Oxford is run by dons for dons and by tutors for undergraduates.
NR. LUCAS: Yes.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: Professor Palmer and Professor Hawkes say that because of this position of the University (because, as they say, it is run by dons for undergraduates) it automatically leads to a suppression of new ideas. Would you care to enlarge on that point?
MR. LUCAS: There are two points there really. One, I should say, is that any system with only finite resources is going to have to say `No' sometimes, and although Oxford has said `No', or, more often, just failed to say `Yes', to certain subjects, this is not a criticism of Oxford. In Oxford the Colleges take the responsibility for saying `No'. In other universities it is the Vice- Chancellor who effectively says `No'; but in any system you are going to have to say `No' sometimes. More generally than that, I should have said the Oxford system was better than others for producing new ideas, because it has not got the built-in obsolescence of any system where the power (at any rate, the power of appointment) is in the hands of professors who are always relatively old and who have been successful in relatively old- fashioned systems. If I could take an example of this, and mention names, before the war the John Locke Scholarship, which in my subject, Philosophy, is the one thing which is under the control of the professors, was not awarded one year because there was no candidate good enough, two of the candidates being Professor Austin and Professor Ayer. I think it is reasonable to assume that they would not have been appointed to any University job then. I do not want to say that all the ideas that either Professor Austin or Professor Ayer have put forward were right ones, in the sense that I am an unfashionable critic coming in from underneath. But I am sure it was a good system which enabled these two rebels, in spite of professorial disapproval, and very strong disapproval, to make their way nevertheless and establish themselves.
Again, if one compares even Oxford and Cambridge, I think on this point Cambridge is less well favoured. Some of the recent criticisms which have been directed against one particular Arts faculty in Cambridge could not ever have got off the ground in Oxford, because the power of making new appointments is always in lay control, and therefore all the time you are not seeing whether the man is an orthodox performer in the professor's own line of field, a promising research assistant, but whether he seems in general to be a man with new ideas, a certain originality, and a certain intellectual power; and although I am sure we would not have done all that Dr. Leavis would want a university to do, it is reasonable to assume that one or two of the Colleges would in fact have appointed Leavisite tutors in English.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: Yes. You will understand that I am not in any way necessarily supporting the views -----
MR. LUCAS: No, I am attacking the views, rather than you.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: The criticism which has been put against Oxford's general disorderliness is that there is no sort of coordination, there is no forward planning. You say in your memorandum decentralisation encourages initiative, and initiative comes from what is popularly called the grass roots. The criticism which has been levelled against us is that there may be that initiative; but there is nobody in the University to co-ordinate it. Do you share that view?
Mr LUCAS: This is a fair criticism. I think it is not peculiar to this University; it is a national vice that we are very reluctant to get away from detail and look a long way ahead; but Hebdomadal Council, if it chose to spend the time thinking several years ahead, is the body which can do it. You can air views some years in advance of any practical decision being needed. In my own College, naturally we tend to use our college meetings and ordinary tutors' meetings to get through the business at hand, and there is a built-in tendency not to think a long way ahead. But it is perfectly possible by putting down a motion on the order paper that we should consider something, first of all to air the issue, then to leave it for a few weeks while people talk about it, and then to try to get a formulation of principle.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: You think that Hebdomadal Council, with suitable encouragement, could act as a forward-planning body?
MR. LUCAS: Perfectly. Who else better?
SIR LINDOR BROWN: We shall know more about this no doubt when we have considered the evidence from Council itself. So you feel that initiative coming from below, through Colleges, through faculty boards and so on, could well be co-ordinated by Council and the General Board, with the structure as it is at present?
MR. LUCAS: Yes, and I think I should add that it is already much more co-ordinated than the critics allow. This University in the past four years has made a number of major changes---I am thinking particularly of the foundation of new Colleges---and there has in fact been a great deal of co-ordination. Council appoints a committee, the committee reports, then the views of Colleges are sought, and then Council reflects on this. Finally decrees are put forward in Congregation. Four years on the academic scale is really very little time.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: But we are accused by various bodies, notably Lord Robbins, of slowness.
Mr. LUCAS: That is open to a devastating tu quoque. I would like to underline this. It seems that Lord Robbins and his Committee took two years to find out that a lot of people had been born in 1946.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: And they worked very hard, too.
MR. LUCAS: The then Prime Minister took two days to say that something ought to be done, and wrote a lot of letters to the universities. Oxford and Cambridge, or the Colleges, were given a fortnight to produce answers, and they did produce answers, much more than turned out to be either necessary or even wanted. When there is a serious issue which needs immediate decision, special college meetings can be called, and Hebdomadal Council can put decrees to Congregation quite quickly. The things which are slow are things which are not clearly desirable. Various reforms of various syllabuses are slow, because at least two thirds of the people are not very enthusiastic for them, and this may be a good reason for their not being done anyhow.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: Granted that the present organisation of the University on the whole satisfies many of us, although it may not necessarily satisfy Lord Robbins, we are under criticism for another thing. which was mentioned particularly by Lord Heyworth and Lord Murray, that is our relations with outside bodies. They say that we do not play our part properly in national and even international matters, because there is no-one who can speak for Oxford.
MR. LUCAS: But if there is one person who can speak for Oxford, it means that nobody else can. This is a very widely-made criticism; journalists also make it. They want to be able to nobble a permanent Vice-Chancellor and get him to say something off the cuff, and then be able to say: ``That is Oxford.'' But I do not see any reason why there should be somebody to speak for Oxford, except in matters where a decision is actually required, and then there is a body to speak for Oxford. We do not need someone to commit us. What people want is not one administrative decision, because we are not primarily here to administrate, but good views, and lots of people are able to provide good views in Oxford.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: But a certain difficulty arises in a body for instance like the Committee of Vice-Chancellors. I have never attended one, but I imagine the assembled Vice-Chancellors sit round the table, and the Vice- Chancellor of University X says: ``My university will do so and so over the next five years.'' The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford says: ``Of course, cannot speak for Oxford. I shall have to go back and consult the constituents.''
MR. LUCAS: May I quote one of the above critics who deals with just this situation, saying that of course he had to condemn it officially, but that the other universities, although they were irritated, were also very glad that the Vice-Chancellors of Oxford and Cambridge could always refuse to commit themselves and say they had to refer back to their university, because this effectively prevented the government putting screws on their Committee; it always gave them time to think, and gave time for ideas to be properly ventilated; and although from the government's point of view it would be very nice to have a permanent Vice-Chancellor who can be got at in Whitehall and then come down to Oxford and lay down the law, from our point of view it is a very bad idea. This is what Henry VIII wanted, and ever since then there has been an attempt to get Oxford and Cambridge under control, and I do not think it is at all desirable, except from the government's point of view.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: You are making a splendid reply to these criticisms. Now could I go on to deal with the question of administration, whatever that may be? You have had experience of American universities, I think you said, in which you say that there is always a tendency for the academics to be against the administration.
MR. LUCAS: Yes.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: I am not doubting your word, but is this really a serious matter in American universities?
MR. LUCAS: So much is it so both in American and other British universities that the Robbins Committee (which could never be accused of being non-Redbrick) when they talk about the Committee of Vice-Chancellors, mention this and say that there ought to be elected members on these committees on short-term election; in terms of a proposal for a permanent Vice-Chancellor this gives the game away altogether because if you have a permanent administration the University is divided into ``them'' as opposed to ``we'', and therefore they feel that it is necessary to have a member of ``we'' at the source of power.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: Do you regard the Administration as exemplified essentially by the permanent Vice-Chancellor, or does the feeling against the Administration to your mind go further down the administrative hierarchy?
MR. LUCAS: I think one has to distinguish there between English and American universities. In America they have a very large number of administrators; in Princeton I am told there are as many administrators as academics. There they have all academics against the president and the administrators, with occasionally the president changing sides. In England, where the Administration is relatively small, it includes the Vice-Chancellor, the Registrar, and most of the professors; the more amenable and the more expensive professors are all regarded as administration, and it is everybody else against them.
SIR ROBERT HALL: Why does becoming a professor produce this horrid change? For instance, when you talk about Mr. Ayer, as he then was; would you say that when he became a professor, then he was ipso facto joining the ranks of the obstructionists?
MR. LUCAS: I do not want to say anything against the professors. Some of my best friends are professors.
SIR ROBERT HALL: But on your general thesis, the more anybody moves up the hierarchy, the worse from a University point of view he is likely to be. Why?
MR. LUCAS: There are two reasons. I think one is just the general point that power tends to corrupt. But more particularly, very often a professor is prevented from either thinking or teaching by the pressure of administrative duties, and as soon as he cannot find satisfaction in the thinking of new ideas or in the dissemination of knowledge, he tends then to take it out in trying to got a bigger and larger empire as a sort of compensation, and this I think does very often have the effect of making the professor, even if he started with perfectly good intentions, gradually become a bit more administration-minded. He sits on so many committees that committees seem to be very important.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: This is very interesting. I speak as one who was corrupted by power for eleven years in London, which is run of course on the system of professorial hierarchy, and the point you make about the increasing burden of the administration pushing on the professor is a very important one. I must admit that I appreciated the easing of the strain when I came to Oxford.
MR. LUCAS: I think this can be duplicated over and over again in a great many provincial universities. One man who threw up a professorship in one university where I was had an hour-and-a-half of one working morning wasted by the Vice-Chancellor's secretary trying to arrange a committee meeting; you have got the extraordinary thing at Redbrick that all the professors are unhappy because they are having to do too much administration, and all the non-professors are unhappy because they have not got any finger in the pie whatever.
MRS. FLOUD: I think one has to say something on behalf of the administration in the modern university. I think the present Master of Clare College, Cambridge, who is a former Vice-Chancellor, recounts somewhere in one of his many illuminating pieces on university administration that he was taught by his predecessor to say religiously every morning, and he did say throughout his tenure as Vice-Chancellor: ``I am an evil, but I am a necessary one.'' It seems to me that one might ask you whether you would like to act the devil's advocate to sustain the view that there is a place for an enlightened and creative administrator in the modern university even if we take your initial premise for granted that we do not want to change the actual structure of the distribution of power in Oxford, that we do not want to disenfranchise the dons, and so on. Still might one not say that there is a place in a large-scale enterprise like a modern university for providing the sort of administration which would relieve dons and incipient and actual professors from that undue burden of committee work and administration which seems to grow with co-operation in the scientific field particularly, (not so much in the Arts), in the pursuit of knowledge under modern conditions?
MR. LUCAS: Is this a suggestion like that of Dr. Chilver, that there should be a number of administrative assistants to do various chores which dons do at the moment but which do not require a don to perform them, or is this a suggestion that there should be a permanent Vice-Chancellor?
MRS. FLOUD: I was not making a suggestion. I was asking whether you would like academics to do some sort of administration. Let us suppose that you would agree one cannot dispense with administration altogether, I would then like to know what you would feel would be a tolerable and useful sort of administration in the University while allowing it to retain something of the same structure, and all its advantages which you put forward.
MR. LUCAS.. I would pick up Dr. Chilver's suggestion (which I believe a good many Cambridge Colleges have) of providing far more administrative help to dons. At the moment, one philosophy tutor (a pupil of mine) spends about two hours a day acting as clerk of works. This does seem to me to be a great waste. I have heard tell of a women's College where one of the women fellows marks the bicycles. (Laughter)
MRS. FLOUD: In this University?
MR. LUCAS: Yes. I cannot tell you where it is because my information came from a most unreliable source. If those wore the sort of things that happened, it would be a very great waste of an academics' time. I think that all the way through we do suffer very much from an assumption that a fellow's time is free and therefore it is cheaper and altogether better to use a fellow of a College to do something rather than hire anyone else to do it.
Oxford has been guilty of this and increasingly so in recent years. It has been extravagant in its use of its academics' time in doing entirely minor and unimportant administrative tasks.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: This point was made by Sir Maurice Bowra.
MR. LUCAS: Yes, and this could be remedied greatly. To take up a matter which I can vouch for, when I was first a junior fellow of my College, I once received my battels addressed to me in the domestic bursar's own handwriting. He was the Ancient History tutor, and it did seem to me to be a great waste for an ancient historian to be addressing and making out battels for his colleagues.
MRS. FLOUD: This is an example of a very lowly matter indeed. It is not really administrative but what one might call secretarial. Surely there is a much larger sort of administration which admits of something less routine. If, for instance, one looks at the Annan Report about the structure of Cambridge, and the attempt that was made there to devise an administrative system which would not change the locus of power in Cambridge at all, they thought it was necessary to have some sort of arrangement whereby the multi-decisions, the local initiatives, which you stress are a feature of a university organised such as ours, could be brought together, discussed and information circulated about them. In fact, what they asked for were administrators who were much more in the nature of academic diplomats within the university, bringing decisions to the notice of those they might affect, bringing plans forward, getting priorities worked out, in order that when finally these matters came to be put to the vote in their equivalent of Congregation, that body would be extremely well informed and would not merely find itself in a position of having to act as a vetoing instrument because it was not able, or had not had time, or had not had the information, or had not been in the position to think the thing over in a way that would make it possible for them, to say, ``We do not like this. Let us knock it out for another period of time''. In other words, it seemed to be the case in Cambridge that the present structure, whilst it was very democratic, led to stalling, led to Congregation being a vetoing machine rather than a genuine agency of the decisions of people in the university. But you would not think this was your notion of administration.
Mr. LUCAS: It is my notion of administration but it is one of which I am very suspicious. I think this sort of power would very rapidly become a tyranny, and this for several reasons. First of all, who would act as academic diplomats? A person who is able enough to keep up with the academics themselves would then want to be more than merely a civil servant. He would want to initiate ideas himself, and quite naturally. It is important that where we do have academic administrators they should be integrated into the college system so that they can speak in their own person on occasion. But if you had many of these people, just because they were able and also whole- time at it, they would want to do a good deal in the way of organising things and taking decisions themselves. Also, they would be in a stronger position to do so.
After my evidence was published, one of the reports I got back from a professor in a university, who had been an Oxford tutor, stated that there the academic participation was greatly rubber stamping and all the real decisions he had seen taken in the last four years were taken by the professional full-time administrators. This, I think, would happen.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: There are the seeds of tyranny in Oxford now, of course. We have the science departments, which spend large sums of money from outside, where it is convenient to have an administrative head in the form of a head of the department. They potentially erode the freedom of the college tutors very much.
MR. LUCAS: More than ``potentially''. There have been some cases where they have already tried it on.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: Can you see any way out of this?
MR. LUCAS: Yes. In my opinion the proper thing here is to separate off the person who is an executive from the from the person who has the long-term view---the big name---and make the science professors, like the arts professors in Oxford, people who are chosen not for their organising ability but for their intellectual eminence (I think sometimes the Masters of Cambridge Colleges have this position, where they are relatively free from chores); if the selection has been a wise one, they will have a great deal of power just because people will respect their views so much.
Meanwhile, the executive post should be something much more like a senior tutorship which could be handed round the department by election on a rotating basis, when a good many senior people who wanted to run things would then get a chance of doing so without necessarily having got a Nobel Prize first.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: So the day-to-day running of the department would be done by an executive officer, shall we say, in a position of not very great power. But the thing that decides the effort in a science department is where in effect tho money goes. Who is going to make that decision?
MR. LUCAS: Do you mean the money already allocated to the department?
SIR LINDOR BROWN: The money which is flowing in from various sources.
MR. LUCAS: This should be made by the department as a whole in the same way as it is done in a College. Of course there is the danger of people making informal alliances by saying: ``I will vote for your nuclear-spin resonator if you will got me three brand new oscillographs'', or something of that sort. Even so, it seems to me to be a better risk to take than that it should rest entirely on a professor's favour.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: And you think, it would be better to run the department with a committee rather than by the dictatorial method?
MR. LUCAS: Yes.
MRS. FLOUD: I wonder if you would like to say something about the criteria you are applying when you talk about academic efficiency. I very much sympathise with your attempt to distinguish between the University as an organisation and other sorts of organisations, and it seems to me that the corollary is that the notion of efficiency must be quite different. I wonder if you would like to say a little about that and what criteria you are applying when you say in your memorandum that Oxford is in fact more efficient than other universities.1
MR. LUCAS: There are multiple criteria. The two obvious and broad ones are, firstly, the production of new ideas; where Oxford, together with Cambridge, ranks with leading American and European universities; that people come here because there are new ideas to be had here. Secondly, in the instruction, particularly of the young: in spite of a great many and very proper efforts to make the Redbrick universities better, we still seem to do the job better than they do.
These are the two most obvious ones. Otherwise, there are a large number of negative criteria where you just find certain things are not going wrong; for instance, where the right books turn out to be in the library; where the telephone system does not get cut off just as any after-hour seminar would be in progress; or people are not going to be locked out of a building just when they might be going to call on their tutor; or the telephone system does not go out of action just at the time it is likely to be wanted. There are a large number of small things which one cannot particularise except in great detail and rather boringly of what goes wrong in other universities.
MRS. FLOUD: I wondered also if you would like to say something more about your statement that Oxford, contrary to the view put forward by her detractors is not more old fashioned than other universities but is more up-to-date. Are you there referring to these two respects you are talking about, namely, the production of new ideas and the efficiency of teaching?
MR. LUCAS: Not only these, but wherever there are new ideas you will find someone in Oxford who knows about then, and you do not always find this is other universities. Where there are new methods it has usually been tried out here or in Cambridge. This is the sort of thing I mean. The accusation of being out-of-date is one based primarily on architectural evidence I would say! At the moment I am not going to be able to specify a large number of very modern features in Oxford without having to cast, perhaps unnecessary, aspersions on other rival universities.
SIR ROBERT HALL: I would like to go on with this point a little. A number of people have put to us quite dissimilar views from yours. You thought the machinery of Council and the General Board were quite adequate to the task that they ought to carry out. I think this criticism could be summed up by saying that there are people here who have modern and up-to-date ideas and there is the machinery, but that the machinery for implementation is a slow one, primarily because it is said that Council and the General Board are overloaded and there is no attempt to produce what one of our witnesses called a ``Queen's Speech'', that is to say, a statement of the general policy which the University is going to carry out. I notice that at the end of your memorandum you do point to a few blemishes---
MR. LUCAS: More than blemishes---serious criticisms
SIR ROBERT HALL: Very well, serious criticisms---points that you think might be put right. It seems to me that the general criticism is that it is difficult to have a place in the University where the various suggestions or criticisms can be brought together and be examined, that there is no body which takes on the function of a government in a democratic system in setting out the different things it is doing, and that there is no proper debate where people can voice objections to what is being done.
MR. LUCAS: Perhaps the first thing I should say is that not all modern ideas are good ones, and the reason why a great many people find their pet projects are spiked---
SIR ROBERT HALL: Yes, but how do you expect the good and bad ideas to be sorted out from one another?
MR. LUCAS: There are a different number of ways. For instance, writing an article in the Oxford Magazine is one method. One can ask one or two members of Hebdomadal Council to consider a proposal and then one discovers what the difficulties are and one can perhaps answer those. If Council is obdurate you can do a six-member resolution in Congregation. Much more importantly, one can move either one's faculty or one's College, and because of the great degree of decentralisation a great deal of unthinking obstruction is irrelevant.
SIR ROBERT HALL: Would you judge the worth of the idea by the pertinacity with which its promoter carries it forward?
MR. LUCAS: No.
SIR ROBERT HALL: Because I would think, listening to you, that only an extremely pertinacious and resolved person would be able to find the time to go through all this.
MR. LUCAS: I would have thought it was the other way. One needs to be much less of a go-getting intriguer in Oxford than anywhere else because you do not have to square a number of important people in the administration.
SIR ROBERT HALL: Yes, but is the power here more a negative and obstructing power than a positive one?
MR. LUCAS: I am not sure I can answer that. Perhaps if you could say what sort of idea it was one was trying to get adopted I would be able to say how one could do it.
SIR ROBERT HALL: To give you two examples. Someone who was here last week considered that Linguistics was shamefully neglected in Oxford because there was no opportunity of stating this publicly, and even if it was stated, there was no-one fit to appreciate the considerations. You yourself made several suggestions such as that there should be fewer tutorials, and the average age of tutors should be reduced. Those are two possible examples of reforms.
MR. LUCAS: Then let me take the latter ones because although I could speak about the former it would be discourteous to do so.
One of my colleagues put forward a number of recommendations on his own account in an article in the Oxford Magazine about the number of tutorials: he put forward a number of suggestions, with some of which I agree and with some of which I disagree. I thought this ought to be considered and therefore put down a motion for the Warden and Tutors' Meeting during this term that we should take note of this article, together with the Hale report---(I had first found out that there were three or four tutors in my College who did agree with this article)---and we spoke to that and adjourned the discussion until the beginning of next term. In the meantime we are all going to produce our ideas about what tutorials are for, what the right number is, whether there are any alternative methods to be considered, and various things about teaching machines, and so on. We shall then decide again what we ought to do, and if we come out with any startling decisions we shall take care to let all other Colleges know what we are doing.
This seems to be a perfectly reasonable way of trying to carry through some reform. Meanwhile, I am able to make a good many experiments about machines and seminars, and this afternoon one of my pupils is going to try learning mathematics on the teaching machine. I can do this because I do not have to get anybody else's consent for it.
SIR ROBERT HAIL: Yes, I see.
MR. LUCAS: I can get other people to listen to the arguments and then to take a decision. I cannot see what more one could ask than this.
SIR ROBERT HALL: Yes, I think you are saying that the processes here are perfectly adequate. Truth, or whatever is your objective, will prevail better under these processes than with a more hierarchical system?
MR. LUCAS. Yes. I want to stress there are an awful lot of things which can go wrong here, but it is the lesser of two evils.
SIR ROBERT HALL: That is the price we must pay. Equally, when you are saying how difficult the professors could make life for people, and that it is much better that the fields should be allocated by a decision of the whole department, I suppose some people would criticise you on the ground that they would share it all out equally, and that it would be too painful to do in a body of colleagues. The same would apply in a College, for that matter. Nobody likes to criticise anybody else, so you get everybody treated in the sate way. You get some virtuous, and some less virtuous, some idle and some industrious, but that again is the price you have to pay for autonomy.
MR. LUCAS: Yes. I do not think it always works out quite like that. If it did work out like that, that would be the price you would have to pay.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: There is one jewel in our crown that you mentioned, and that is that decisions, when taken, are actually carried out. Would you care to enlarge on that a little, because one of the points that has come before us is that there is in the University as a whole no executive in the ordinary sense.
MR. LUCAS: Every year since I became a tutor I have had to examine in entrance and scholarship examinations. Every year it has been a different scheme. Every time I have voted against the change. In one case the Warden and tutors of my College went on record, on a fly-sheet, as saying that the last scheme or the last scheme but one would not work. Nevertheless we have played by these rules. It is a frightful nuisance, but we do what we are required to do, even though it is against our own better judgment.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: This is a decision at what sort of level, if I may use the term?
MR. LUCAS: I think it is usually taken somewhere near Bletchley, between a representative selection of Oxford senior tutors and Cambridge tutors.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: I see. It involves the senior tutors of the Colleges of both Universities?
MR. LUCAS: Yes.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: Have you any experience of decisions on policy involving alterations in --- I am afraid I have not enough experience of the way it works.
MR. LUCAS: Syllabuses and lectures?
SIR LINDOR BROWN: Yes, this sort of thing.
MR. LUCAS: On syllabuses I have not yet been so consistently outvoted, but there are often fairly close decisions on the sub-faculty about, for instance, the teaching of Philosophical Logic for the Preliminary Examinations (which is the most recent one) where I am quite sure that the minority will continue to do what they think is a less desirable course. With regard to lectures, about once a year I submit to the Lectures Committee a list of suggested lectures which I could give, and I ask for their comments. Then I do the one they want, when they want it.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: This is the sub-faculty?
MR. LUCAS: This is the sub-faculty, yes. On occasion I have changed it to fit in with their requirements
SIR LINDOR BROWN: You find that faculty decisions are carried out ?
MR. LUCAS: I think for a philosopher, faculties do not affect the matter. You credited me with approval of the General Board. I ought to disclaim this. I know nothing of it.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: Up to the level of the sub-faculty (if I may use that term) everything works satisfactorily?
MR. LUCAS: I would not say it always works satisfactorily. Some of my colleagues, perhaps not excluding myself, talk too much. Once or twice it has happened that a decision has been taken first, and then there has been a discussion about what it meant afterwards. Various things like that go on. I would not want to criticise this unduly harshly.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: You raised. a point on the size of Colleges that interested me very much from the point of view of organisation, when you were speaking about non- fellows and the need for there to be new foundations. You say that Trinity, St. John's and King's are too large.
MR. LUCAS: Yes.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: Of course, Cambridge seems to have taken quite kindly to the idea of a college council.
MR. LUCAS: Yes. This is a bad idea. Who is going to serve on it? The only people who are going to serve on it are people who either like running things or who have perhaps lost interest in their subject and find that time hangs rather heavily on their hands. There is a strong feeling in these Colleges. Junior fellows of Trinity do not feel themselves to be fully enfranchised members of their College as junior fellows of Merton do. This becomes an oligarchy.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: You find thee is a feeling in Cambridge against the idea of the college council.
MR. LUCAS: Everyone tends to discover what he is looking for and everyone's sample is fairly small, so I do not want you to attach magisterial importance to this but there are some people anyhow who hold this view.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: You think in general it would be highly undesirable for the size of our governing bodies to increase much beyond what they are now?
MR. LUCAS: I think this must be so, because the number of separate communications varies roughly as the square of the number of people, and therefore the length of governing body business, if everyone is to have made his point clear and met every objection, increases very rapidly beyond the point that people are prepared to pay attention.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: Yes, provided the governing body does not become a rubber-stamping organisation, as it might if it were too large.
MR. LUCAS: Yes, this is the danger. Therefore, one needs to keep governing bodies relatively small.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: According to Parkinson, 21 is the maximum. Actually it is beyond the maximum, because beyond 21 it is governed by a caucus.
MR. LUCAS: I confess that I have known governing bodies of between 20 and 30 who have still given a strong non- caucus feeling. I am not sure whether a governing body is quite the same as a committee, but when not everyone can hear what somebody else is saying it is a sign that it is getting too large.
MRS. FLOUD: Could I ask something about the organisation of graduate work? I take it from what you say that you are unreservedly in favour of the collegiate structure throughout the whole range of studies in this University. That is to say, you would not wish to change the relationship between the Colleges and the University at the graduate level either. You would like virtually to contain. the development of work at all levels within what is feasible at a collegiate structure, even if it involves holding back new appointments until such time as a fellowship becomes vacant for the candidate?
MR. LUCAS: Does your question mean I should come down against B.Phil. seminars?
MRS. FLOUD: No, I merely meant you would wish to see the responsibility for the organisation, of graduate studies as firmly based in the Colleges as undergraduate studies are, and that all graduate work should be based on the College, even though there are university facilities?
MR. LUCAS: I would like to hedge on that a bit. I think it is a very good thing, if a person has already been at Oxford, that he should then in one way or another get out of his College. When there are graduates or even fairly senior undergraduates in my College I am urging on them the necessity of not being too college based.
MRS. FLOUD: But to go into a College, nevertheless?
MR. LUCAS: I think they should be in some College. I would not want to exclude the possibility of developing the Nuffield---St. Anthony's model a great deal further. As between the rival merits of graduate Colleges and Middle Common Rooms I am very hesitant. I have been in a graduate College, and I have been in an ordinary undergraduate College in Oxford before there was a Middle Common Room. Both of them had advantages; both of them had disadvantages, and I would not want to come enthusiastically down on either side of the fence.
MRS. FLOUD: But some College at any rate you think is indispensable?
MR. LUCAS: Yes. They ought to be attached somewhere. They ought to have somewhere where letters can be addressed to, and where they really feel themselves at home.
MRS. FLOUD: So not only the number of graduate students but also advanced work should be contained within the collegiate system? For instance, I think you say specifically that you should only make new appointments if there is in fact a fellowship available for the candidate.
MR. LUCAS: This is nothing to do with graduates?
MRS. FLOUD: Except in so far as that sort of appointment tends to go hand in hand with the expansion of graduate numbers, and graduate numbers tend to go hand in hand with that sort of appointment .
MR. LUCAS: I think at any point where we are expanding we should see exactly what our cloth will allow us to do, and not, as happened recently, get people to come to Oxford, either to do a particular job or as graduate students, when we cannot provide either adequate facilities or teaching for them. I do not want to say we should necessarily clamp down on any particular expansion. Sometimes, on the contrary, we ought to increase it, but if we are going to have more graduate studies in, say, operational research then we need to make sure both that there is somewhere for them to live and that there axe some people who will provide them with proper supervision.
MRS. FLOUD: The provision of new societies, therefore, is really a corollary of this. There should be new societies? They might be very modest, they might be very poor, and they might not be economically viable.
MR. LUCAS: The new societies are meant to deal not with the problem of graduates. I think I put this as second priority. The first priority is for the new societies to deal with the problem of people who are senior members of the University and not fellows of Colleges. This is something that can be done fairly cheaply, but it is better if it is done expensively. This is a thing which is absolutely essential. I think Cambridge has already reached a point almost of no return, and we are in danger of doing this. Either we have every member of Congregation a fellow of a College, or we say that Colleges are not really essential.
MRS. FLOUD: I cannot take this further, but it seems to me that if you have societies which. are to absorb non- fellows without a graduate population equivalent to the undergraduate population of another College, or without undergraduates, then it loses something of the character of a College and becomes something much more like a dining club.
MR. LUCAS. It could start like this. A fellow of Linacre House has said it is not lack of graduates there, but because they do not do teaching and thinking. I naturally want a College eventually to have teaching and thinking going on in it. I think the dining club would be the first thing to start.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: A dining club is better than nothing?
MR. LUCAS: Yes.
SIR LINDOR BROWN: There is one point I would like to make, and that is that Mr. Lucas has completely exposed the falsity of his criticism in Item 15 of his memorandum, where he says that the intellectual atmosphere of Oxford is arid and sterile, and people are inhibited from saying what they believe to be true because they fear they will be exposed to ridicule and hypercritical comment.
MRS. FLOUD: This is because the Commission is sympathetic.
MR. LUCAS: This is the tendency. I do not want to say everybody would do that.
SIR ROBERT HALL: Thank you very much.
Mr. Lucas has submitted the following written addendum to his evidence in relation to Mrs. Floud's question on page [fn.1.].
Much more important than these are the new ideas one is perpetually coming across in Oxford, and whose absence one notices in other universities. 1. See addendum to the report (on p.20).What it actually felt like: an article I wrote for Oxford