HL Deb 19 June 1968 vol 293 cc690-706

2.50 p.m.

LORD BYERS rose to call attention to the causes and possible remedies for the increasing discontents of university students existing in this and other countries; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, the Motion which I am moving to-day was put down on the Order Paper over a month ago, but the question of student unrest is still topical and still continuing. One of our motives in offering this subject for debate was that there is no better forum for the discussion of a subject as important and as broad as this as your Lordships' House. I am extremely grateful to the noble Lords and noble Baronesses who have signified their intention of speaking to-day, because so many of them have detailed first-hand knowledge of this subject. I am particularly pleased that the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, who I understand is an undergraduate, has chosen this occasion to make his maiden speech, as also has the noble Lord, Lord Tedder. We shall look forward with great interest to hearing what they have to say.

Perhaps I should begin by attempting a brief review of some of the incidents and demonstrations in which students have been involved in order to see whether there is any factor or theme which is common to most of them. In 1966 at Berkeley University, California, there was a protest against recruitment on the campus for the United States Armed Forces and for C.I.A. This was fed by the anti-Vietnam war feeling. The students turned against the President, and the President called in the police. Later the President was dismissed and I understand that recruiting goes on, but fairly cautiously at the moment.

In 1967 in Berlin there was a protest at the visit of the Shah of Persia to West Germany. Why there should have been a protest I do not know. I can say in passing, as one who has visited Iran in the past five years, that I have seen some of the remarkable achievements in that country, both socially and economically. Nevertheless, the students protested, and in the riots unfortunately a student was shot and killed by the police. This united the students of the Free University and they formulated demands for the reform of the university administration. This protest movement has continued and has thrown up Rudi Deutshke and caused the Mayor of West Berlin to resign.

In the summer of 1967 the students at the London School of Economics protested at the appointment of Dr. Walter Adams as their Principal. This was followed by a period of great uneasiness in the student/establishment relationship. Perhaps some noble Lord who is to speak to-day will be able to enlighten us as to what the situation is at the moment. In Warsaw, in March of this year, students rioted because of the banning of a play which was alleged to be anti-Russian. This became a general protest against censorship and later protests were aimed at getting two suspended students reinstated. So far I understand that thirty-six professors have been dismissed and the Conservatives in the Government are strengthening their control. In Prague, in January of this year, students originally rioted because of the poor electricity supply to their hostels. Charges of police brutality were levelled and later were admitted by Novotny, but by that time the students were caught up in a general criticism of the Government which had been begun by authors and writers, and the student movement greatly strengthened Dubrek's hand in getting rid of Novotny as First Secretary.

In Columbia University in America, the original cause of the revolt by the students was the proposed construction of a gymnasium on some parkland near Harlem. Police were called in to eject students from halls which they were occupying, and anger at police violence caused even further student protests. In the Sorbonne, the initial complaint in May and June of this year came from Nanterre, the university annexe outside Paris. This was mainly concerned with unsuitable buildings and lack of communication between senior and junior members of the university. This quickly spread to the main university block, where complaints about overcrowding and poor teaching were made. The Dean called in the police to eject the students from the Sorbonne. Police brutality added to the students' anger. The Minister of Education supported the use of the police and, as we know, the Sorbonne revolt built up into something much bigger, provoking the French trade unions to their devastating strike.

In Essex University, the initial spark was apparently caused by a lecture given by Dr. Inch. of the Porton Germ Research Institute. Three students were suspended for demonstrating and their reinstatement was demanded, together with a greater say in the administration of the university. A free university was organised but it was closed down when the Senate decided to reinstate the students. And so I could go on to events at Keele, Hornsey College of Art, Croydon College of Art and at Oxford, where proctors banned the distribution of leaflets urging workers to strike in sympathy with the French. The same phenomena have occurred in Tokyo, Madrid, Ankara and Rome.

One common feature which seems to stand out clearly throughout the spectrum is the role of the police. I believe it is true to say that among the students involved in these incidents only a fraction are "Left-Wing activists", or perhaps a better description would be "Left-Wing activists bordering on anarchy". The majority of students who wish to protest wish honestly to achieve certain reforms and improvements and, above all, want to see them brought about by relatively peaceful means. But the activist anarchists frankly admit that they will not be satisfied by any of the reforms at all. They want a state of perpetual revolution. This type of student is quite different from the rest and, I believe, quite easily identifiable. They are vague and full of slogans, which most of us find meaningless. The one thing we must recognise about this type of student is that they build up support for their cause by using the behaviour of the police to polarise the rest of the student body into radicals, on the one hand, and reactionaries on the other. This is the general pattern which seems to be emerging from many of these incidents.

One of the excellent Times articles on students in revolt puts it thus: With dreary predictability, almost all the authorities faced with restive students have managed to exacerbate the trouble by reacting clumsily or brutally. They start by standing firm, then send in the police, and then take fright and make concessions when the situation is out of control. Nothing has done more to reveal the lack of communication between the generations than the repetition of this response. Nothing has done more to unite students and confirm their diagnosis of society than the ferocity with which police have been allowed to attack them in the heart of supposedly cultured and civilised Europe.

I believe that one of the reasons we have been spared the ugly incidents which have occurred in other countries is the traditional tolerance and good sense of our own police force. But even here it would be unwise to be complacent. I have been told by several people on whose observation I would rely that in the Grosvenor Square demonstration, while the hulk of the police force behaved with the greatest restraint a few of them were determined to provoke the demonstrators —a small minority which is enough to warn us. Last night on B.B.C.2 there was a programme called "Man Alive", which purported to exhibit some of the ways in which police behave with rioters —not just students—all over the world, and in it there was an extract of the demonstration in Grosvenor Square which made it absolutely clear that two or three —but only two or three—of the British police were guilty of brutality.

If this analysis is correct—namely, that where Left Wing anarchists are in any way involved there is a carefully laid trap to provoke police reaction—we ought to re-examine, as should other countries, the whole system of crowd control and the way in which the police should be advised to react. I say: "Thank God our police do not react as the French police have done." I think we are extremely fortunate to have this vast majority of our police force with the common sense and tolerance which they have displayed.

I do not want to give the impression that demonstrations by students or anybody else are unjustified. Far from it. In many cases it is the only way to get grievances recognised and remedied. But too often legitimate protests have got quickly out of hand. Where common sense has prevailed, the situation has been controlled throughout. I must say that I should like to congratulate whoever was responsible for the decision to extend the stay of Mr. Cohn-Bendit. It was a brilliant thing to extend his stay by 14 days: the chap did not know what to do with the other 13 days, and so he went home. But, believe me, if we had insisted on his going in 24 hours, we should have made him into a martyr. This shows how valuable it is when common sense prevails.

No one can help sympathising with the French students, faced with a stuffy establishment of self-satisfied teachers; with a student/teacher ratio, I am told, of 80 to 1, and the chronic educational conditions which, according to my French information, prevail at the Sorbonne and at Nanterre. It is not made any easier by the right of every French student, as I understand it, with minimum qualifications to attend a university without any process of selection. But the subsequent riots, I believe, could and should have been avoided, and there must be a lesson there for people in other parts of the world.

In this country, too, there are genuine grievances, and often inadequate means of airing them. In many cases there is a denial by the establishment a[...] the university of the right of students to participate in decisions which affect them. I think this is a good moment in time to step back and have a long, hard look at our universities and to consider in what respects they are failing to provide the standards and facilities which might be thought desirable in this part of the 20th century.

I am indebted to Mr. A. D. C. Peterson, the Liberal spokesman on education and the Director of the Department of Education at Oxford, for bringing these problems clearly to the fore in a new book called The Future of Education. His theme is that education should enable a man to understand, to accept and modify and to enjoy the actual environment in which he lives, and therefore in a rapidly changing environment educational systems need built-in accelerators, not built-in brakes.

One thing which stands out clearly from criticisms which I have heard from students is the slowness with which university establishments have reacted to the need for change. It is remarkable how, be it in Yugoslavia or Oxford, the authorities are always just on the point of granting the improvements which are being demanded, but somehow have never quite got round to it. The fact is that there is a built-in conservatism in any educational system. I think it is inevitable. It has been said that it is harder to change a curriculum than to move a graveyard. There is a natural autocratic establishment in most educational systems, and this means an inevitable time-lag in responding to change. When society is changing and developing rapidly, as it is now, this time-lag becomes too long, and it is bound to spark off not only frustration, but extreme demands, for instance, for the Free University, student control and so on.

My Lords, I am not suggesting that students are all little saints and teachers a band of sinners. This is not true. Indeed, I think some of the students, a distinct minority, still fail to appreciate that a university is meant to be a place of learning, a continuing living organism in which knowledge is gained by the free interchange of ideas between teachers and students, students and students, students, teachers and outsiders. That is why I find it quite horrifying to hear of people being denied by students the right to talk to other students on subjects with which they do not agree. This is not my idea of freedom.

But it is not just students. The politicians cannot be exempted from certain criticism in this matter. I have here a letter. I will not name the writer of it, but he happens to be a Member of the other place who occasionally gets involved in things. He is writing to the political officer of the Union of Students at a certain university, and he says: I have been asked to speak at the university on Rhodesia and I understand that part of the speech is to be televised. He then goes on to talk about the time he should appear, and so on, and he ends up: Perhaps you will let me know what is the general idea. Do the T.V. people want to photograph a riot? If so, I hope you drum up plenty of supporters.

The fact remains, however, that many of our universities do not seem to inspire sufficient confidence in the students at the present time that they can respond to change quickly enough. I would instance the following grievances. I want to make it quite clear that these are generalised—they do not apply to all universities, and all the criticisms certainly do not apply to any one university —but they are points that I have had expressed to me. First, the lack of provision for student participation in decision making. A university is an exercise in community relationships. A community has to be built up, and continued. I think students must be encouraged to express views on what is to be taught, although their views should not, in the long run, necessarily be predominant. Thus, I think the first need is to establish a system of communication and consultation, where it does not exist—and I insist that it does exist in many universities.

The second need is to foresee the situations which may arise, and work out ahead of time how they should be dealt with. I am told that the recent incident at Essex took the authorities completely by surprise. The next requisite is good staff/student relationships. This, I think, is a matter of balance. The old idea of staff being in loco parentis does a lot of harm where it is still believed, and it is doubtful whether the present disciplinary systems are really the right ones for dealing with young people who are a great deal more adult than perhaps their counterparts were twenty or thirty years ago. I do not believe that a university can expect to be in loco parentis when you find that it is very difficult for parents themselves to look after students.

One of the matters which can go wrong very badly in some universities—and I find that this is a quite widespread criticism—is the low quality of the staff; and one of the most harmful influences is the pressure on junior staff to publish rather than to teach. In most universities no one really seems to know how the staff actually do teach, since it is accepted that dons do not visit each other's lectures and classes. If this is so, the only way in which people can get promotion within the university system is by publishing original—or not so original —work. This means that they spend less time and energy on teaching and on their relationships with students. An obvious reform would be to insist on a certain amount of training in educational methods and in teaching for university staff. Most of them at the moment, I gather, do not have this. Teachers have it, but not in the universities. In fact, there may be something to be said for copying what has been done in Wisconsin, where students produce a survey of the ability and interest of lecturers and teachers. But when Isis tried to start this some time ago in Oxford, the proctors stepped in and stopped it.

Among other criticisms, I find the following from students, depending upon the university experience that they have had. One criticism which comes up from time to time is of too many absentee professors in one economic department—I am told that at one time six out of eight senior teachers were absent for more than a term each. This cannot be right. There is a widening gulf between the academic staff who want to get moving and the administration, which in some universities is too lethargic. There is a lack of interest by teachers in some universities in their students. One case quoted was where the only contact between the don and his students was the don's annual sherry party. This was resented not only because the sherry was cooking sherry but because this was the only opportunity which they had of meeting their so-called teacher.

There is also a criticism that when students are put on committees the decisions immediately begin to be taken elsewhere and the committee becomes a sham. There is furthermore a claim that students no longer want to be protected by a private, separate disciplinary system. This is something which is worth examining. They say that if the offence is a criminal one the police should handle it; if not, the students can deal with it themselves. There is a strong feeling, in addi- tion, that some of the newer universities are not really going in for the type of academic teaching which the students want but are turning more into what was described to me as "fact-stuffing factories". This is resented in many places by students who feel that they have been cheated out of a proper university education.

There is also at some universities strong resentment at the governing bodies' adopting wrong priorities. I have seen one university myself 'where there is deep feeling at the extravagance on the external fittings of the university and the purchase of pieces of sculpture, often costing several hundreds or thousands of pounds, while the library is chronically short of books. This is a valid case for resentment. However, we must not get things out of proportion.


My Lords, would the noble Lord tell us whether he is clear that the money spent on sculpture in a university could not in fact be spent on books, because one comes out of recurrent expenditure and the other out of capital? So it is not a clear case of extravagance at all. If he looks at the grant regulations he will be able to see that that is so.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord James, who knows about these matters. That point had been made to me, and of course it is a valid one, but I am talking about what the students feel about it. I hope that the noble Lord, when he comes to speak, will make a point of dealing with this matter, because I hope that Vice-Chancellors will ask the Government not to place the universities in this position. His own university is a case in point: there is a chronic shortage of books in the library, and yet I do not know how much those electric light fittings cost around the pool. Perhaps he will tell us. It would be something like £50 each, and there are plenty of them All I am saying is that, whatever the division between capital and operating costs, this is a source of resentment on the part of many students.


My Lords, I do not know whether I heard the noble Lord correctly, but I thought he said that he had heard of universities which spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on sculpture.


My Lords, I said, "hundreds and sometimes thousands"; it is mostly hundreds. But the resentment is not in proportion to the actual expenditure; it is the principle.

As I was saying, we should not get these matters out of proportion. We have been far more fortunate than other countries so far, and there is no reason why we should not continue to be so. I have every confidence in the university governing body; I am quite sure that they know how to put their house in order. But we probably need to recognise that we must respond more quickly to the demand for change. I shall be interested to hear from noble Lords how they react to this subject. That is one of the purposes of this debate. I think that more student participation in decisions that affect them is a "must"; but student power in the sense of allowing students to dominate the university, to decide, for instance, on the whole of the curriculum and to discuss teachers' salaries, is in my view the quickest way to anarchy in the university and I should not think it could be recommended. One criticism levelled by teachers at students, which is too common not to be true, is that where students do take part in committees it is very difficult to keep anything confidential. This is a problem.

My Lords, I should like to end by saying this. I asked a senior professor at a very successful university for which I have the highest regard what his advice would be. He said: My advice to politicians is this. Let the universities sweat it out. For Heaven's sake do not let this motley crew of extra-parliamentary ' agitators stampede the Government into dragooning universities to accept a primitive form of syndicalism. Remember that the large majority of students reading 'tough' subjects really do study, conscious of the fact that in being at university someone else has been excluded. In any case, any general ukase prescribing university governmental arrangements would be another nail in the coffin of academic freedom. What we need at this stage is some experimentation in academic government and not conformity to some legislative measure passed in panic by worried politicians ". My Lords, I am not a worried politician. I have every confidence in the future of our universities, but I think there is a good deal of wisdom in that advice. I am looking forward to hearing what other noble Lords feel on this very important subject, and I beg to move for Papers.

3.15 p.m.


My Lords, it is rightly said to be a distinguishing mark of your Lordships' House that for every subject we debate we have experts who can speak with first-hand knowledge of the matter at issue. How true that is in this case! Who better fitted to let us know how to deal with the discontents of the younger members of society than the Liberal Party. We have only to look at the Liberals to see how young and old should go forward together in harmony. Let us reflect for a moment upon all our young people, Liberal and otherwise. Let us recall some of the things that we were saying about them here only last February. The noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, whom we are sorry not to see here with us to-day, but who has spent so much of his life working and thinking in this field, and who now lives, as Master of Trinity, much closer to students than most of us here, said on that occasion, in summing up his speech: Our main credit and our main riches are our young people …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT: 21/2/68, col. 423.] And from other noble Lords who spoke in that debate there was much else in that vein.

My impression in February during that debate was that your Lordships from every side of the House endorsed those words of preface. I start with them now and I stress them, and I hope that all of your Lordships' House continue to join with me in endorsing them four months later. I start with those words and I stress them because I believed them to be true then. I believe them to be true now, and I believe it to be a truth which we need to hold on to just now as day after day in these last weeks we have all been presented by the Press, by the radio and by television with a totally unrepresentative picture of young students.

We need to remember that not all of our students are foreigners, not all our students look disreputable, not all our students are incapable of thinking straight or acting responsibly. Most of those whom we see and hear about are foreigners, do look disreputable, seem incapable of thinking straight and certainly do not act responsibly. One other point, while we are on the subject of Press and the radio. With notable exceptions, in which I fear, in my judgment, one cannot count The Times or the B.B.C., these have once again failed us. They began about a month ago, I think, especially The Times, by trying to discern and to publish what was significant about the present affairs of university students in this country and abroad, but in the end, and particularly last week, they abandoned the significant and succumbed almost totally to the lure of the sensational, portraying to us only what was, in my judgment, very third-rate entertainment.

The significant issues—and there certainly are plenty of them and I will come back to them in a moment—have got lost under a welter of nonsense. Incidentally, it happens that I was in Cambridge all last week, and that not inconsiderable university presented a picture totally at variance with the Press image. The delights and the discontents (whichever they are) of revolution had been quite abandoned. They had been abandoned for the far superior delights of the fair sex, and the May Balls were in full swing. This was a desperate situation for the revolutionaries. A senior proctor told me that no fewer than four demonstrations had totally failed to get off the ground.

That is all I want to say for the moment about our students, but before turning to their real discontents we ought, I believe, to reflect a little upon our universities. I will not follow the noble Lord, Lord Byers, who introduced this debate, into foreign universities and into comments and criticisms about them. I think it would be more profitable to keep our eye on our own universities and say what we can which is helpful about them. To do so, I believe we need to cast our minds back to the debate in December, 1963, on the Report of the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, whom we are so glad to have here this afternoon. The noble Lord, both in his Report and in his own speech in that debate in December, 1963, gave the fullest possible warning of the strains that would come as his plan, and the plan of his colleagues, for university expansion unfolded, and it should not surprise us that they have arrived and have taken some of the forms which we see before us.

Consider the question of the Vice-Chancellors, who have been meeting this weekend, I understand, at Downing College, Cambridge, and to whom I believe at this moment we should not hesitate to express our admiration. It is good to have so many of them with us here today. The noble Lord, Lord Robbins, and his colleagues, in their Report in October, 1963, in paragraph 676, said: There is a grave danger that the needs of expansion will impose upon the heads of universities a quite insupportable burden—no other enterprise would impose on chairman the variety and burden of work that a modern university requires of its vice-chancellor. Governing bodies should give serious attention to improving their organisation here. And I think it would be profitable for us and the country to hear in this debate this afternoon exactly what is going on in that field.

Take the case of junior dons, In 1963, few matters caused greater anxiety than whether it was going to prove possible to staff such a rapid expansion of the universities as the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, was advocating. He did not gloss over this. In his Report at paragraph 538 he said: There will be in the immediate future"— it was five years ago when he said it— a serious aggravation of the strains and stresses of the past 20 years". In fact, do we not now see large numbers of young, relatively inexperienced dons —and this is no fault of theirs—assuming larger responsibilities than their predecessors in these new and rapidly growing universities, themselves having just had to cope as undergraduates with all the stresses and strains and shortcomings that inevitably pertain to raw and growing new institutions?

Finally, in this brief glance at our universities, we come to the question of student numbers in the new universities. In 1963 there were some—and The Times, alas! was among them, and wrong again—who doubted whether sufficient qualified candidates could be found to fill the extra places it was planned to produce, and that standards would be diluted. The noble Lord, Lord Robbins, and his colleagues thought the opposite; and how justified they were! They thought that the problem would be one of making sufficient provision for the untapped young talent that we have; and such the problem has proved to be, and with a vengeance. I invite your Lordships to throw your minds back those five years to recognise that what confronts us now, at any rate in this country, is not some weird, new, unforeseen portent. It is something that was foreseeable, was foreseen, and here it is.

These reflections lead me to conclude that to talk of student discontent and student revolt is really rather misleading. Not that it does not exist; of course it does. But it is not only students who think that things could be better, and it is not only discontent that is being shown. Many people, students and staff alike, are already hard at it, grappling quite admirably and constructively with the problems of change, growth and development in our universities to the best of their ability. And perhaps here and there, from time to time, a protest and a demonstration has helped to get things going and to keep them moving. If some of my noble friends behind me think, as I suspect they might, that all student protest is always deplorable, I would ask them to tell me where we are going to get the training for the Dame Irene Wards of the 21st century if it does not start in the universities.

I turn now, my Lords, to the National Union of Students. This is another body about which I think we could use this occasion to express our admiration for their moderation and their constructiveness. The programme put forward by the National Union of Students and published, I think, last Thursday, falls into that category of positive suggestions which merit serious discussion and, if possible, prompt decisions, and I am glad to hear from the Vice-Chancellors in the, bulletin issued after their last meeting in Cambridge that this is what they are going to get, though it does not mean, I suppose—and I should not imagine it did for a moment—that this will result in acceptance of precisely everything the National Union of Students have in mind.

There are some who believe that all the concern that students are expressing is surprising and that their methods of expressing it are deplorable. I take a rather different view. I take the view that if, at the end of 15 years of modern primary, secondary and higher education we had nothing but docile, apathetic, miniature establishment figures in our universities, there would be far greater cause for dismay and surprise. But that is not to say that all that we see to-day is welcome and beneficial. Mixed up with what there is of good—and there is a very great deal—but feeding on the undoubted defects that remain, alike in our society as in our universities, we also have a discontent of a different kind, and the noble Lord, Lord Byers, was absolutely right to dwell on this at some length. It is an impatience and a militancy that needs very careful handling, and perhaps it is not always getting it, even in this country.

At this point we should, I am sure, all wish to join with the noble Lord, Lord Byers, in paying our tribute to the police for their restraint and their good humour, which is one of the characteristics in our own police that is perhaps missing elsewhere in the handling of these matters. It has been demonstrated that outright repression, abject surrender and lofty contempt are all equally unsuitable responses to militant protest. The right response, I submit, is what, if I understand him aright, Stephen Potter describes as "plonking" (an art in which I believe your Lordships House excels); the absorption of protest and militancy with something like blancmange. I sometimes wonder whether we could not contribute to these affairs by finding a seat here for Mr. Tariq Ali, who would find protest a much more difficult art here than anywhere else. Just look at what we have done with those other patriarchal protestors, noble Lords like Lord Brockway and Lord Soper, who unfortunately are not here now. With the expenditure of rather more patience, courtesy and attention than perhaps they might get elsewhere, even these classic protestors have been absorbed, the heat and the noise that makes militant protest so tiresome and unfruitful has been minimised, and their talents have been put to good use. I commend those methods for study.

Finally, I should like to go just a little deeper, for the basic cause of what we are witnessing lies deeper than the undoubted stresses and strains of university expansion. I believe that the mainspring of all this unrest lies with the growing desire and the undoubted need of all members of society—and not least the younger, the more intelligent and the most idealistic—to have a responsible part to play in the world and in the society and communities to which they belong. This is the same point to which the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, directed our attention in our debate last February. To the many examples given then I should like to add two more: a letter to The Times in the middle of all that correspondence about student revolt from the General Secretary of V.S.O., pointing out that recruitment to that organisation for voluntary service overseas had just reached a new high record; and, secondly, that the first advertisement for graduate staff to man the newly established Young Volunteer Force for social service in the home led to no fewer than 1,200 applications for the first twelve places.

Those samples, I believe, bear witness to the running of a deep and strong tide. To that tide the hierarchical structures which still persist here and there in our society, alike in industry and in the universities, in which responsibility is concentrated at the top, must yield and change. Responsibility must still be there, but the structure in which it is exercised must take on more the character of a community with responsibility more widely shared, and, what is more important, felt to be more widely shared. If responsibility is to be as widely diffused as it now should be, concepts of hierarchy everywhere, not least in the universities, I suggest, must yield to concepts of community, shared responsibility. This, in a country with roots as deep as ours, is an extremely difficult and delicate transformation, in which, with the added strains and stresses of expansion, militancy and anarchy and unthinking revolt have very little or nothing to offer once the process has begun and once it is moving.

It is a transformation, I would suggest, in which respect for sincerity in other people, an openness to new ideas, bold, clear and radical thinking, and responsibility and commitment, are the qualities that are needed. I cannot believe that British dons and British students have not enough of these qualities, enough to see us through this special phase of particular stress and strain and enough to bring us to the point at which the young, and university students in particular, can play and continue to play a really valuable part, not only in their own communities in the universities but in society at large.