This working group foregrounds reflection and debate on the public tasks of the university. Too often have the goals of those working at universities been formulated in privatised terms. This has estranged academics both from the historical roots of the university, and from assuming a democratic role beyond academia. In this era of changing demands on universities, a vital question is how to shape and reshape the public tasks of the university. This question touches on research and the degree to which it has relevance for publics beyond the university, and it is crucial in conceptualising a relationship with students within university communities beyond treating them as consumers of knowledge.