To the Vice Chancellor of Middlesex University
To the Board of Governors of Middlesex University
27 May 2010
We are writing to protest at the decision to close the Philosophy Department at the Middlesex University on the grounds that it is not financially viable. The high quality of research conducted in this department is reflected in the large number of internationally acclaimed philosophers who have written condemning this decision.
The decision to close Philosophy is deeply disturbing, not only because of the implications for staff and students, but also because of the wider implications for the international academic community and intellectual life in the United Kingdom. It is symptomatic of a higher education system which is increasingly driven by the short termism of the market and financial parameters to the detriment of a broad, inclusive education system with critical thinking at its heart.
Further, we are appalled at the draconian treatment of students and staff who legitimately protested against a decision that would affect their educational experience and livelihoods.
We urge you to reconsider the short sighted decision to close the department and to immediately rescind any suspension of and disciplinary proceedings against students and staff. Failure to act on both of these issues would tarnish the reputation of the institution and invite further protest. It would be to the detriment of both staff and students at the Middlesex University if it came to be viewed as an institution which panders to an increasingly narrow conception of education and intimidates those that protest.
(UCU elected members for London and the East)
Professor of Political Economy
University of Hertfordshire
00 44 1707 285498