If you want to help stop the closure of philosophy at Middlesex and protest the recent suspension of philosophy students and staff, there are two simple things you can do right away. The first is to sign the online petition protesting against the closure decision. We’ve had over 18,000 signatures so far. If you have an academic job, you can also sign the international petition (set up by John Protevi and Todd) May calling for an academic boycott of Middlesex University: more than a thousand people signed it in its first 24 hours, and the total number of signatures is currently 1900+.
The second is to write to the managers responsible for the decision, and to the university’s Board of Governors. Feel free to extract some points from the brief petition text, or from the longer overview here. If you’re happy for you letter to be posted in part or full on this blog, then please BCC it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you are part of an academic department or institution, then a group letter signed by members of the department is likely to make a significant impact.
The most effective emails (in order to avoid spam filters) are likely to be those addressed to individuals or to small groups of people, in particular the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Michael Driscoll, email@example.com and his Deputies Waqar Ahmad, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Margaret House, email@example.com.
The full set of email addresses for the university’s executive and governors is as follows:
firstname.lastname@example.org; A.Gajownik@mdx.ac.uk; A.Durant@mdx.ac.uk; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Bridget.Rulski@guardian.co.uk; email@example.com; T.Cockerton@mdx.ac.uk; P.A.Johnson@mdx.ac.uk; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; W.Ahmad@mdx.ac.uk; J.Compton-Bishop@mdx.ac.uk; firstname.lastname@example.org; K.A.Bell@mdx.ac.uk; email@example.com; M.House@mdx.ac.uk; M.Keen@mdx.ac.uk; firstname.lastname@example.org; PeterCheeseman1@aol.com; Peter.Thomas2@justice.gsi.gov.uk; RS1000@live.mdx.ac.uk; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; T.Kelly@mdx.ac.uk; T.Butland@mdx.ac.uk; email@example.com
Please watch this space for information on future actions!
It’s disgraceful that your Dean is determined to cause you maximum inconvenience rather than listening to your demands against closure of your departments.
Oxford Anti Cuts expresses strong solidarity – well done on the occupation and keep at it!
Pingback: Updates on Vanity, Norman Corwin, Creditors, Poetry, The Battle of Kosovo, and Middlesex University's Philosophy Department | ducksanddrakes
Pingback: Middlesex still in occupation - Occupations
Pingback: Letter to Middlesex | Progressive Geographies
I would just like to express my solidarity with your cause. Keep up the good work rejecting this continued commodification of education and learning. There is much work to be done to change the way our higher education is heading in the UK and this is the real coal face. Good luck.
I am studying philosophy in Paris-Sorbonne University. I would like to invite one of your speakers. How to do? Thank you.
As a teacher of Religious Studies and Philosophy and Ethics, I find it sickening that pupils will struggle to find places to study this vital and beautiful subject if the axe of funding continues to fall on university departments
solidarity from a teacher and a trade unionist
Have you guys set up a ‘fighting fund’, and if so how does one contribute?
Any one there?
I signed your original petition against the closure of the Philosophy Department. I now join the protest against the recent suspension of staff and students.
I write not just as a fellow academic, but as someone with personal ties to Middlesex University. In 1965-67, I lectured in the Sociology Department of what was then Enfield College; in 2008, I received an honorary doctorate from Middlesex University. Even in 2008 (let alone the mid-Sixties) few people could have imagined not only that succesive governments would attempt to strangle the best of British higher education, but that our universities would implement this policy with such cowardice and even (as your Middlesex administation has shown) such zeal.
Congratulations for your resistance.
Message sent to the university’s executive and governors:
So this is what academia has come to? It is run by a managerial cadre that moves to what can only be described as grown-up versions of schoolyard bullying tactics (scaring staff who depend on their positions and are actually committed to them and students with suspensions and court orders).
Shame on you, who evidently have NO commitment to academia whatsoever.
I applaud the students and staff who stand up to you and defend the little that has been left in the arts and humanities! Good for them, and good for the rest of us who want our society to consist of much more than spreadsheets, bottomlines and profit margins. They demonstrate that we will not let a handful of bureaucrats at the top of our institutions and government make the decisions that matter and shape our
society! Democracy is the rule of the people, not elites. Look out your windows onto the campus – this is what democracy looks like.
Message sent to Governors
“Re Philosophy Closure at Middlesex, from a former Governor – Universities UK’s ‘Gerald Ratner Moment’?
I retired some years ago from Middlesex, where I had taught philosophy since 1968 (before the Polytechnic was designated), and later was a Dean of Students. I was an elected staff Governor for many years. When I arrived there were a couple of Colleges of Technology. A real institution of Higher Education and cause of pride rose from that foundation. To the outside world the current management seem to be intent on returning to those roots, gratuitously abandoning the effort to maintain an intellectual reputation even when it costs nothing to do so. (For you know that research excellence subsidises Middlesex undergraduate philosophy teaching.)
Google ‘Middlesex Philosophy’ and look for endorsement of the management’s decision – you won’t find much in the 900,000 items Google brings up! National and international opprobrium will rub off on the reputation of even the university’s most obviously ‘corporate’ subjects. Across the world people who have barely heard of Middlesex will be saying ‘But didn’t I read somewhere that it’s a rubbish place?’ ‘They teach management and manage like that?’ Because the decision to close philosophy has all the hallmarks of Academia’s ‘Gerald Ratner moment’. ‘Why are we closing philosophy? Well, as a university, we basically don’t approve of intellectual activity.’ It will cost much more to undo the damage already done than the closure of philosophy will save.
The decision doesn’t make the institution look hard-headed and business-like. It merely looks careless of its reputation for learning, slavish in its pursuit of the policies of government that isn’t even still in power, and reckless in courting bad publicity, just like the unfortunate Ratner. Hard headed businesses sponsor all sorts of intellectual and artistic activities, because these enhance their prestige. Middlesex merely has to leave well alone to garner the prestige which accrues because its philosophy is ranked above a good many Russell Group departments.
The Governors are in place to moderate management folly, should it occur, and to uphold the mission, which, inter alia, foregrounds “providing challenging academic programmes underpinned by innovative research, scholarship and professional practice” which philosophy most certainly does. Please do your duty and undo the damage being done. The comentariat are already beginning to refer to Middlesex “University” and to the University of the North Circular. It will not be long before these epithets become a fixture in the snobby press, to the huge detriment of the institution, especially if the stand is taken that Philosophy is to be closed on a point of principle. It was initially an issue of expediency to decide to close philosophy (one hopes), and it would now be most expedient to avoid the irreparable damage to the university that will follow from persisting with it in the face of the harm it has already done the institution. Kings College has recently backed down from a similar folly, despite having a far more resilient reputation with opinion formers than does Middlesex.
(Google ‘Gerald Ratner’ if you’re too young or far away to know what happened.)
Have you seen these (http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=93D71503C08013AD) videos?
What are the chances of including them in this section for others to find and use/embed elsewhere to promote the campaign?
I fear that, whilst what Middlesex is seeking to achieve is outrageous, your struggle is by no means an isolated one. What Professors Osborne, Hallward, Alliez et al., but equally all of you involved in the fight represent – intellectually, philosophically, politically and culturally – is now under threat in various parts of this culture and beyond. Hold on and keep going: you stand for more than yourselves, and others should be grateful to you, as I am. Also note above: Middlesex is `slavish in its pursuit of the policies of a government that isn’t even still in power’. For future reference: make lifelong war on all Milibands and Milibandistas!
Philosophy can’t be murdered.