Potter letter

29 April 2010

Dear Ed Esche,

I am a first year part-time PhD student in philosophy at Middlesex University. I also completed the part-time MA Philosophy and Contemporary Critical Theory at Middlesex University in 2008.

I am extremely disappointed that you recommended the closure of our philosophy department. I am disgusted that the University executive accepted this recommendation.

Our philosophy department is well-known internationally as a centre of research excellence and brilliant teaching. I myself am one of many students who have relocated to study at CRMEP. I moved back to the UK for the sole purpose of studying philosophy at CRMEP after having lived for many years in Austria and Hungary. You have decided to close a philosophy department that has a strong international pull-factor.

I came to CRMEP with a background in fine art. The MA philosophy courses at Middlesex welcome students from other disciplines to study philosophy. Not only are philosophy departments increasingly rare in the UK, many departments do not welcome students from different backgrounds so warmly as CRMEP do. At least two of my own colleagues in the arts intend to study at CRMEP in the future, and the increased intake of the MA courses in recent years is evidence of the growing popularity of CRMEP’s philosophy courses. How can you justify closing a department that is expanding?

Your decision to close philosophy at Middlesex so abruptly seems to have been made without any consideration of my circumstances (and others in similar scenarios). As a part-time PhD student, I am scheduled to study until 2015. I study part-time because I have to do paid work to pay for and support my PhD. CRMEP is one of the few places where this is actually affordable for me. Why have you disregarded my future study and the income Middlesex would receive from my fees?

Finally, you and the University executive are guilty of betraying the tradition of inclusive education in this country. Your preference for maximum profit over inclusive learning is deplorable.

I find your decision unjust, and I will – with many many others – fight against it.

Will Potter,
Research Student in Philosophy
Middlesex University

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