London School of Economics head resigns over school's Libyan ties

Saturday, March 5, 2011

LONDON - The head of the London School of Economics resigned late Thursday, citing damage to the institution's reputation caused by its ties to the Libyan government.

Howard Davies told a BBC radio program Friday that the university would recover from the controversy but added, "It will recover more quickly if I accept the responsibility for two errors of judgment."

Although he insisted that its academic independence had not been compromised, Davies conceded he gave the school "poor advice" regarding its decision to accept a donation from a charity run by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Col. Moammar Gaddafi's son and an alumnus of the school.

He also said he regretted acting as an economic envoy to Libya.

The scrutiny directed at the school intensified Thursday following publication by the WikiLeaks Web site of a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable indicating that Libya had agreed to pay the school $3.6 million to train 400 Libyan professionals and government employees.

On Thursday evening, the school announced it was launching an independent inquiry to examine its relations with Libya, as well as allegations that Saif Gaddafi had plagiarized his PhD thesis, accepted by the school in 2008 and titled "The Role of Civil Society in the Democratisation of Global Governance Institutions."

- Karla Adam

© 2011 The Washington Post Company