Paton letter

To the executive and governors of Middlesex University

I wrote recently to the Vice-Chancellor expressing my deep concern at the proposed closure of philosophy at Middlesex University.  The more I learn about the decision, the more disgraceful it seems.  In particular, if it is true, as widely reported and apparently unrefuted by Middlesex sources, that the closure of philosophy is driven by a desire to transfer HEFCE quota to students who will bring in higher levels of HEFCE funding, this implies a defrauding of students on higher-quota programmes.  These programmes are funded at higher levels because they are supposed to cost more; if they are in fact more profitable to the university than philosophy, something is seriously wrong.

The University’s response to student and staff protest at the proposed closure is also deeply disturbing.  The suspension of Professors Hallward and Osborne, Dr Kerslake, and of several students, suggests an autocratic and inflexible approach to management that is out of place in an institution of higher education (and, indeed, anywhere else). Refusing staff permission to attend a meeting of their own union is simply outrageous.

There is still time for the university to salvage something of its reputation, which I’m sure you are aware has been deeply damaged by events of the last few weeks.  I hope that the management of the institution will remove the suspension of staff and students immediately, and reverse the decision to close CMREP.

Yours faithfully

Dr Diana Paton
Reader in Caribbean History
Newcastle University

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