5.27.2010

A Letter from the Students to Ed Esche & the Board of Governors (at Middlesex

_______________This letter speaks for itself. The letter  it refers can be found in the comments section at the Save Middlesex Philosophy wordpressblog.
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Dear Professor Esche, Thank you for your letter. However, we feel that it does not adequately address the issues we have collectively raised. Beyond the alleged facts governing your reasons for closure, which we have reason to dispute, we are concerned at your lack of engagement with the issues raised by this campaign: the incongruity between your decision and the world-class status of the centre, and its contribution not only to the reputation of the University but to the intellectual and academic arena at large; the status and aim of University education beyond issues of revenue; and most importantly, the irreversibly damaging effects that your decisions are indubitably having on the reputation of the University, and on the staff and students who continue to work there. As we do not accept the justifications you have provided for the closure of the philosophy department, and have good reason to believe that not one of them would hold up to scrutiny, we remain undeterred in our demand for a reversal of the closure. We furthermore vehemently oppose the targeted suspension of members of the department, staff and students, who have taken proportionate and legitimate actions to protest the decision, and we demand their immediate reinstatement. The allegations of illegality that you have made against those taking part in the occupation are serious enough in themselves without the added damage caused by your recent suspension of staff and students- an action that has only served to fuel the support of the campaign. More devastatingly, these suspensions have also sparked an international petition to boycott the University – a movement that our external examiners have already joined – and which will result in the greylisting of the University. We believe that greylisting is a justified response to your unjustified and disproportionate decision to suspend students and staff. However, the consequences of these developments- particularly for the current MA and PhD students who rely on this particular component of external supervision, but also for the entire student body in terms of the compromised standing of a qualification from the University- will be disastrous, and will explicitly contradict your insistence on our continued study (a contradiction that has already been effected by your imposition of measures to monitor the communication our supervisors have with us). We therefore strongly demand that you immediately withdraw all suspensions. With respect to the background you have given for your decision, we are concerned at the lack of proportion between the facts and figures Management have presented, and their decision to terminate the entire department- a disproportion that signals a total rejection of Management’s supposed intention to negotiate workable solutions with the staff. On this level, your failure to mention in your letter the proposed reconsideration of recruitment of part-time MA students- a reconsideration you offered at a meeting with students only two weeks ago- seems particularly symptomatic. In addition, your criticism of Philosophy’s failure to attract “a broader range of funding sources” beyond its central measure of excellence, the RAE, highlights a serious misrecognition of the very profile of the Centre, within which sources such as “continuing professional development, consultancy and other areas of knowledge transfer”, simply have no place. Finally, some of your particular allegations, including that of serious assault to staff during the occupation, remain entirely unsubstantiated and indicate to us nothing other than desperate misrepresentations aimed at stifling a legitimate form of protest. The oversights and inaccuracies present in your letter testify to a disposition that seems to us adverse to any form of negotiation, and merely reinforces our collective dissatisfaction and our demands. We will therefore continue to protest your decision to close the department, to suspend tutors and to victimise students, until you rectify this regrettable situation. Your failure to do so will result- and is already resulting- in serious damaging consequences to the reputation of Middlesex University. If your ongoing mismanagement continues, the only honourable thing for you to do will be to tender your resignation. Yours sincerely,



The Students

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The letter  it refers can be found in the comments section at the Save Middlesex Philosophy wordpressblog.