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From Dalarna to Denmark: University autonomy under fire

Two separate events in recent weeks may threaten the autonomy of academic institutions in the Nordic region.

On 13 October, the Swedish government released a statement detailing its decision that Dalarna University—a university of applied sciences—should continue to operate across two locations 20 kilometres apart. The decision appeared well-intentioned: retaining both campuses would help to maintain strong communities in two locations, rather than concentrating jobs and services, it said.

But the statement proved inflammatory. As the Dalarna board rightly observed, it clearly encroaches on the capacity of institutions to govern their own affairs, and take their own decisions in the best interest of staff, students and communities.

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