We had some great news on Friday: an emergency meeting of Middlesex University’s UCU branch voted to condemn the disciplinary action against staff and students, demand the immediate reinstatement of postgraduate philosophy programmes and recruitment – and go into official dispute with the management if the staff suspensions are not lifted by 12 noon on Wednesday. The text of the motion reads as follows:
1. This Branch demands that the suspensions of Philosophy staff be immediately lifted as we consider them to be disproportionate, intimidatory and inimical to meaningful negotiations. Unless we have positive confirmation that they have been lifted by noon on Wednesday 2nd June, the Branch instructs the Branch executive to formally go into dispute with the University
2. This Branch calls on the University to immediately reopen provision of, and recruitment to, Philosophy postgraduate study including PhDs.
3. As noted in the EGM of 12th May, this Branch has no confidence in the rigour, appropriateness and consistency of the application of the University’s procedures to determine sustainability. We further believe that flaws in the process are having deleterious effects across the University and any decisions to close or restructure subject provision, programmes and centres made under this process will be unsafe. We therefore call for an immediate review of the decision on Philosophy and a review of the University’s decision-making processes for sustainability.
The meeting also passed an emergency motion for submission to The UCU Congress which is currently taking place in Manchester.
[UPDATE: Tuesday 1 June, 3pm – UCU Congress unanimously passed a motion condemning the Middlesex management decision to discipline students and staff. It also condemned wider attacks on philosophy across higher education, and resolved to urge UCU branches to send support to Middlesex UCU and lobby the vice-chancellor and governors.]
More details plus a report on Friday’s student disciplinaries to come. In the meantime, check out the BBC news story on our campaign and this photo of our solidarity delegation supporting the four victimised students (thanks to Jonathan Daniel for the photo):