Beasley-Murray letters

Second letter, to the Board of Governors:

May 11, 2010

Dear Middlesex University Board of Governors:

I am sure you are aware by now of the widespread consternation that
Middlesex University’s decision to close the Philosophy department has
caused.  You may have been surprised by the extent of the disapproval,
shock, and outrage not only in the UK but also across the world.

Because of its renowned research as well as its contribution to
teaching undergraduate and (above all) graduate students, the
department is one of the jewels in your university’s crown.  And yet
the university administration is viewing it only through the distorted
lens of short-term financial efficiency.

I hope that, as a board of governors, you recognize that this is no
way to run a university.

Below is the letter that I sent Professors Driscoll, House, and Esche
ten days ago, but now I am appealing directly to you to ensure that
this decision is reversed and, more significantly, that Middlesex
University rethinks its priorities.

It is your duty to ensure that this shame and opprobrium that the
university administrators have brought on the institution is lifted.


Jon Beasley-Murray
Assistant Professor in Latin American Studies


Original letter, to the Middlesex management:

April 30, 2010

Dear Professors Driscoll, Ahmad, House, and Esche:

I recently learned of the decision to close Middlesex University’s Department of Philosophy.

I share the grave concern already expressed by many colleagues worldwide about what appears to be a short-sighted policy that can only cause harm not only to the University but also to the reputation of British academia more generally.

Last year I had the good fortune to present a paper at the regular seminar hosted by the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy.  I thus had the chance to experience the department’s extraordinary, and deservedly famous, atmosphere of intellectual engagement, with the lively participation of postgraduate students as well as academic staff.

The Centre, and the department as a whole, is very clearly a vibrant centre of research and postgraduate training.  It is the very model of the critical thought and collaborative enterprise that should be valued by the University.

This is to say nothing of the prodigious contribution made by the department’s staff in their widely-disseminated research, in their leading role with the prestigious journal Radical Philosophy, in training a generation of young intellectuals in Philosophy and in inspiring others across a wide range of disciplines.

I can barely fathom the university priorities that allow this department, perhaps above all, to be selected for closure.  It would send a terrible signal to the academic community in Britain and outside were this decision not reversed.

I implore you to reconsider.


Jon Beasley-Murray
Assistant Professor in Latin American Studies

French, Hispanic, and Italian Studies
797-1873 East Mall
University of British Columbia
Vancouver BC V6T 1Z1

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