Miscellany | Published:


Nature volume 63, pages 473477 (14 March 1901) | Download Citation



Two letters which have passed between Sir William Anson and Lord George Hamilton, with reference to the recent dismissals at Coopers Hill College, appeared in Wednesday's Times. Sir William Anson stated briefly the chief points upon which the request for an inquiry into the case is based. Accepting the decision that some change in the course of studies is necessary, it is urged that (1) the men affected by the proposed changes should have had an opportunity of a hearing when the president recast the course of studies, if only to see whether they would be willing to adapt themselves to the new conditions; (2) when the Board of Visitors considered, and in the main adopted, Colonel Ottley's recommendations, it does not seem to have been suggested to them that the teaching staff had not been consulted, or that they might have been consulted with advantage, or, at any rate, that the gentlemen whose dismissals were in contemplation had a right to be heard; (3) many persons eminent in science have expressed a strong opinion that the proposed dismissals will act injuriously on the scientific education of the country. In reply to Sir William Anson, Lord George Hamilton states that he has already taken steps to meet some of the complaints, and to put the teaching staff of the College upon a better footing. Upon his request the Board of Visitors have stated their readiness to meet to hear at once what the members of the teaching staff affected by the changes may wish to urge against them. In conclusion, Lord George Hamilton acknowledges that the channels of communication between those actually teaching and those in authority over the teachers—viz., the president and visitors—should be widened and quickened, and that a divergence of opinion such as has been revealed is detrimental, if not fatal, to harmonious co-operation. He adds, “I therefore propose to ask the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London to each nominate a visitor to be an addition to the present board. I shall ask the board, when so reconstituted, to appoint a committee, including the above, to inquire and report upon the working, discipline and constitution of the College, and the relations of the visitors, president and teaching staff.”

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