I've said it before: Eric Ashby (1904-1992) was over optimistic about universities. Here's an example where I wish he wasn't:
"over a stretch of seven centuries they [universities] have learnt how to dissuade their patrons - princes, bishops, tycoons, alumni - from meddling in their affairs..."
In one case of interference that I heard about recently (I won't post details), when I lightly objected I was told that this is "the way things are, these days". Seven centuries. These days.
I find it hard to believe the stakes are as high now as they sometimes have been over the past 700 years. Maybe it is just that universities don't think academic freedom matters anymore.