Written by Student Rights on 27 January 2012 at 6pm

Economist: Saudi donors effect SOAS line on Koranic Studies?

Last year Student Rights released a report looking into the Saudi funding behind the School of Oriental and African Studies. The report suggested that money can buy influence at universities, a claim that the Saudi Ambassador himself felt it necessary to pass comment on, while ignoring the thrust of Student Rights' questions on the matter.

Last month, The Economist reported on the study of the Koran and noted that the School of Oriental and African Studies had been endowed for many years with Saudi money for this area of study. The article makes note of the funding being potentially damaging to academic rigour, noting:

"A burst of new Koranic scholarship erupted at SOAS in the 1980s. These days, it is one of several British campuses where scholars say they find it hard to get funding for work that threatens orthodoxy—a change they ascribe to the influence of conservative Saudi donors."

Student Rights know that when it comes to money being donated by foreign governments to universities, there are rarely no strings attached. We intend to keep up the pressure in rooting our and exposing the buying of influence on British university campuses.