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ABSTRACT. In the light of terrorism threats worldwide, universities have become increasingly conscious of and committed to enhancing the security of campuses, the safety of staff and students, and the protection of academic knowledge. By such processes, universities have become partners, conscious or otherwise, in a wider process of securitization. This has involved the academy in engagements with legal authorities, as well as security and intelligence agencies. But there is though nothing new about such interactions; indeed, universities have long been conscious and unconscious partners with security and intelligence agencies, and such engagements extend far beyond counterterrorism. Indeed, a plethora of recent articles have popularized and to some degree maintained the glamorous allure of such a relationship (Golden, 2017; Reisz, 2018), typically conjuring an air of intrigue, conspiracy and mystery about it. However, little serious attention has been given to the ethical implications of such engagements for universities and academics. Drawing (though not uncritically) on securitization theory (Bagge Laustsen & Wæver, 2000; Buzan, Weaver, & de Wilde, 1997; Buzan & Hansen, 2009), the article demonstrates how the securitized university has become part of what military theorists call ‘the kill chain.’ Exemplifying four academic ethical principles that can guide university engagements with the security and intelligence agencies, namely, academic standards, academic freedom, academic engagement, and professional conduct, the article defines the securitized university as an interface of the epistemological and the ethical: that is, in new models of warfare where intellectual capital is a feature of university relations with security and intelligence agencies as well as the military the Academy knowledge gathering and dissemination of that knowledge confronts through the kill chain new moral ground. pp. 26–47

Keywords: university; security; intelligence agency; ethics; knowledge

doi:10.22381/KC8120203

Liam Gearon
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University of Oxford, Oxford, England

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