Letter from Adrian Piper

To the Board of Governors of Middlesex University:

I address this letter to you collectively because I lack the opportunity to speak to each one of you individually. If I had that opportunity, I feel sure that dialogue would reveal that your individual choice to serve on the Board of Governors expresses your personal commitment to educational excellence in every sphere: to quality of teaching, quality of scholarly research, and quality of service contribution to the university as a whole. I feel sure that you have assumed these positions of authority, at least in part out of a concern to oversee and ensure the successful functioning and reputation of Middlesex University as an academic institution that demonstrates its ability to fulfill its mandate on behalf its students, as future citizens of a global society who are adequately equipped intellectually by their education to survive and flourish in it.

You will receive many letters that rightly and vehemently protest the closure of the Middlesex Philosophy Department on the grounds of its scholarly and academic excellence, the exceptional quality of its scholarly contribution to the international research community, and the pedagogical power and uniqueness of its course offerings in European continental philosophy. I second these protests unconditionally.

However, I would also ask you to consider the message you are sending to the community of university students not only at Middlesex but also in the UK as a whole, by closing that very department that is most highly rated in research at Middlesex, and most highly rated in research among post-1992 universities in the UK overall. You are, in effect, telling your students that research is not important; that studying, investigating, inquiring is not important; and that the achievement of quality in intellectual performance is not important. In effect, you are telling them that the very reason for attending a university, rather than a vocational training center or apprenticeship, is not important.

Surely you cannot mean to communicate to your students that there is, in essence, no reason for them to undertake a university course of study at all?

I urge you in the strongest possible terms to reverse this dangerously irrational and self-defeating decision. No financial pressure on an academic institution can possibly justify cutting its heart out and sabotaging its reason to exist.

Yours sincerely,
Adrian Piper

Professorin Dr. Adrian M. S. Piper
APRA Foundation
Reinickendorfer Straße 117
13347 Berlin
Tel. +49-(0)30-3060-8911
Fax +49-(0)30-3060-8940

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