Dr Nina Power, a senior lecturer in philosophy at Roehampton University, received her PhD from Middlesex’s threatened philosophy department. She has written an article for the Guardian’s Comment is Free site on why we must oppose plans to shut down philosophy at Middlesex:
The closure of philosophy at Middlesex will send a terrible message: that philosophy doesn’t belong in ex-polytechnics, even when they achieve better results than elite institutions. It implies that philosophy isn’t for “non-traditional” students (much of Middlesex’s intake comes from lower-income and mature students, who juggle work and families in order to attend). It reflects incredibly badly on the management of Middlesex that it would destroy the long-term achievements and potential of its philosophy department in the name of spurious short-term considerations. To close philosophy there would be to fall in line with the increasingly prevalent, but disastrous view, that newer universities should be little more than holding pens for students channelled away from the study of serious subjects.
Interest in philosophy has in fact grown massively in recent years. This is, in part, due to the increased numbers of students taking A-level philosophy, but is also the result of the widespread desire for critical thought and analysis in the face of an increasingly disorienting world. Closure at Middlesex would be a step back to the bad old days when philosophy meant a few young, white and almost entirely male students at privileged institutions discussing the finer points of formal logic over sherry. Middlesex University must be prevented from dismantling one of the finest philosophy departments in the country: fight to keep philosophy alive.