Dean Esche and Board of Governors
London NW4 4BT
May 27, 2010
Dear Dean Esche and Board of Governors,
We write to condemn the suspension of Professor Peter Osborne, Professor Peter Hallward, Dr. Christian Kerslake, and the students Ali Alizadeh, Nicola Goodchild, Johann Hoiby, and Hoi Yen Voong. The protests they waged in response to the closure of the Department of Philosophy were non-violent and appropriate. Your jack-booted over-reaction to legitimate opposition corrupts the fundamental ideal of the university. In responding to critique with force, you undermine the basic principles of education. Not only do you send a message to students, and to the world at large, that academic freedom has no place at Middlesex University, but you also contribute to the production of a society incapable of accommodating dissent.
The case for closing the Department of Philosophy is not compelling. Thousands of scholars have come together in one voice to urge its reconsideration. Philosophy is the highest research-rated subject at Middlesex University. It is also a department with enormous cultural significance insofar as it trains the largest number of MA students in philosophy in the UK and has contributed to the education of numerous artists, curators, and critical intellectuals.
In solidarity with the students and faculty in the Department of Philosophy, we call on the Board of Governors immediately to reverse these ill-founded and damaging decisions.
Faculty of Hobart and William Smith Colleges:
Stacey Philbrick Yadav