Autonomy literally means self-government or self-legislation. A Greek city state such as Athens, which was independent, had autonomy, whereas the member states of the Athenian Empire sacrificed a degree of autonomy to Athens in return for protection. The Athenians held back the threat of Persian domination, but they made certain political demands of the states that they protected. They had a say in the government of these states and hence these states were not truly autonomous. Universities in this country are autonomous in that they themselves are responsible for their own organization. Although they have access to public funds they are not directly subject to the control of any external body such as the government or the ratepayers’ association. There is then a perfectly familiar and straightforward use of the word autonomy, in which to be autonomous is to be free from external interference or control. It is to be master of one’s own fate rather than subject to other individuals or other groups of people.