Hamilton: UK conservatives threaten universities

Andrew Hamilton made his final keynote address at Oxford on Tuesday.

Incoming NYU president Andrew Hamilton gave a keynote speech Monday in which he voiced his displeasure with conservative ideas in the United Kingdom.

Hamilton, who is currently Oxford University’s vice-chancellor and will begin at NYU in January, said the conservatives’ looming spending review threatens the budgets of universities, and added that universities deserve more recognition for the good that they do.

“If politicians do not fully understand or appreciate what a jewel they have, they risk throwing it away,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton is not alone in his displeasure with potential cuts to U.K university funding, as many students feel the same way. CAS sophomore Edie Freedman, whose home country is England, said she felt any cuts to universities would affect those who are less financially stable. She said many institutions, thanks to their large focus on academics, also don’t leave a lot of room for students to make pocket change.

“I can say that there is a big difference between the U.K. and U.S. universities as there is more of a focus on academics specifically rather than an all-around education,” Freedman said.

NYU announced that Hamilton would become the new president in March, and he said he would continue working to make education more affordable.

Having seen both sides of education systems here and overseas, Freedman said she felt Hamilton would have to adjust to the U.S. education system.

“I do think Oxford can be a bit of bubble,” Freedman said. “And I think he will have to get used to the whole donor culture/private university idea.”

Stern sophomore Simon Tesfaiohannes said he believed that students should never bear the weight of budget cuts at universities.

“The university’s endowment should suffice in covering aid to students coming from lower socioeconomic areas,” Tesfaiohannes said. “The budget cuts should in turn cut university expenditures, but it should not have an adverse effect on the students.”

Email Alex Bazeley at [email protected]

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