Academic freedom is being increasingly challenged both by government and by students. Since universities have allowed themselves to become dependent upon public money for their survival, those who work within them can no longer resist pressures from governments which apportion the money or from students who represent those supplying the money.
During the two decades preceding 1988 there have risen an alarming tendency to undermine, restrict or suppress academic freedom and autonomy of institutions of higher education. This has a direct relation to a contracting system of higher education justified most often in terms of economic austerity and/or political expediency.
The years since 1981 have been one of the three or four lowest points in the relationship between the universities and the state in 800 years of English history.