Howard Davies’ resignation as director of the London School of Economics over the university’s ties with the Libyan regime is a warning to other UK universities trying to close their funding gaps with outside donations.
Sir Howard was admirably clear on Thursday about the reason for his departure:
“There were risks involved in taking funding from sources associated with Libya, and they should have been weighed more heavily in the balance. Also, I made a personal error of judgment in accepting the British government’s invitation to be an economic envoy, and the consequent Libyan invitation to advise their sovereign wealth fund.”
Libya is a particularly dubious case but, as UK universities are pushed to become more business-like to compensate for cuts in government funding and pressures not to raise student fees too rapidly, many are seeking other sources of cash.