The diversification of British universities continues apace. First there was Oxbridge, plus Durham and a couple of ancient institutions in Scotland. Then there were the dissenting academies like UCL in London, and the “redbrick” (municipal) universities. Then there were the “plateglass” universities established after the Robbins Report in the 1960s. Then came Polytechnics (which have mostly morphed into universities). Now comes an entirely new classification — the “rackety” universities, described by Lord Carlisle, the government’s independent reviewer of terror legislation, in evidence to the Commons home affairs committee yesterday. Discoursing on the threat posed by radical imams to impressionable young British muslims, he said (according to the Guardian):
If you talk particularly to young female students in the larger, more rackety universities, there is a degree of concern expressed about some societies where women are excluded and where there might be radicalisation.
Two questions: (a) what, if anything, does this mean? (b) What are the criteria by which anxious parents would be able to rank an institution on the rackety scale?