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European Philosophy

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MIDDLESEX PHILOSOPHY CLOSURE

From p.hallward@mdx.ac.uk

Dear all

Further to my last message, about the closure of Philosophy at Middlesex: all of us who teach philosophy at Middlesex have been overwhelmed by the tremendous outpouring of support from students and staff at other universities that we’ve received in the last 24 hours. Middlesex students are mobilising quickly, and we will meeting tomorrow and in the coming days to discuss how best to organise a forceful campaign to save Philosophy at Middlesex, and more importantly, to protect other vulnerable departments in similar situations both at Middlesex and in universities across the UK. 

I promise to keep future messages about this to a minimum, but here are a few more bits of information:

There’s now a petition to save Philosophy at Middlesex, at: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-middlesex-philosophy.html

Middlesex Philosophy students have set up a Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=119102561449990 (3600+ members in the first day).

Nina Power, who graduated with a PhD in Philosophy from Middlesex a couple of years ago, has a Guardian comment piece on the closure, at: www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/29/philosophy-minorities-middleqsex-university-logic

We will be posting new information about the campaign on our temporary blog, at  http://mdxphilcampaign.blogspot.com/, and hope to replace this soon with a campaign website. 

If you haven’t yet written to the people behind this decision, they are: 

Vice-Chancellor of the University, Michael Driscoll, m.driscoll@mdx.ac.uk;

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise, Waqar Ahmad, w.ahmad@mdx.ac.uk;

Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Margaret House, m.house@mdx.ac.uk

Dean of the School of Arts & Education, Ed Esche, e.esche@mdx.ac.uk

The full set of emails is then: m.driscoll@mdx.ac.ukw.ahmad@mdx.ac.uk;m.house@mdx.ac.uke.esche@mdx.ac.uk

This fight is only just beginning,

Yours in solidarity,
Peter

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Nietzsche

CLOSURE OF PHILOSOPHY AT MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY – A MESSAGE FROM PETER HALLWARD

Dear friends and colleagues

I regret to say that Middlesex University has just decided, rather abruptly, to close all its Philosophy programmes and to shut down our Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP; http://www.web.mdx.ac.uk/crmep/)  

Staff include Eric Alliez, Peter Hallward, Mark Kelly, Christian Kerslake, Peter Osborne and Stella Sandford.  Some members of the Centre may be laid off more or less immediately, and some will remain temporarily, to teach out the programmes.

As you might expect we’re scrambling to put together a response, and to begin with we’re asking colleagues and friends to send a brief email or letter about the closure to the University administrators who have made this unexpected decision. If you have time to write such a message, please feel free to extract some points from a draft letter that a few of our most recent collaborators will be sending later today to Times Higher Education, below.

The main people involved in the decision are as follows:

Vice-Chancellor of the University, Michael Driscoll, m.driscoll@mdx.ac.uk <mailto:M.Driscoll@mdx.ac.uk>

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise, Waqar Ahmad, w.ahmad@mdx.ac.uk mailto:w.ahmad@mdx.ac.uk

Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Margaret House, m.house@mdx.ac.uk <mailto:m.house@mdx.ac.uk>

Dean of the School of Arts & Education, Ed Esche, e.esche@mdx.ac.uk mailto:e.esche@mdx.ac.uk

(The full set of emails is then: m.driscoll@mdx.ac.uk; w.ahmad@mdx.ac.uk <mailto:w.ahmad@mdx.ac.uk>; m.house@mdx.ac.uk; e.esche@mdx.ac.uk <mailto:e.esche@mdx.ac.uk>).

If you are able to send this sort of message, and are willing for your message to be posted subsequently on a campaign website or blog, please copy or blind-copy (BCC) it to our campaign email, savemdxphil@gmail.com   <mailto:savemdxphil@gmail.com> .

By tomorrow I expect we’ll have set up a petition to save the CRMEP, and will get back to you about this soon.

Although it may already be too late to save Philosophy at Middlesex, some decisive action now may help protect other vulnerable subjects at the University, and in the UK more generally. It’s been very encouraging, over the course of today, to receive dozens of messages of support and solidarity.

I’ll circulate more information about the campaign to save the CRMEP once we’ve had time to set up a basic website or blog.

All best,
Peter

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

STAFF AND STUDENTS RECLAIM KING’S COLLEGE LONDON

Last Tuesday’s (30 March) strike in defence of education at King’s exceeded all expectations. More than 250 people joined loud and vibrant picket lines on all four King’s campuses. Security guards at one campus indicated that numbers entering their building were as much as 75% down. At the main building on the Strand only a small trickle of students and staff went in.

Support for the strike was boosted after the latest hapless intervention by senior management, who refused to allow non-UCU staff to take annual leave yesterday. This prompted more than sixty of those obliged to work on the Strand to sign a card expressing solidarity with the pickets. Members of other unions on all sites brought refreshments out to colleagues on strike and stood with them during breaks. Local cafes displayed UCU material explaining our reasons for striking. Students brought cakes for pickets, played musical instruments, set up stalls and hung a huge banner over the entrance to the Strand: ‘Education massacre: do not enter.’

Messages of support have flooded in from King’s alumni, students and non-UCU staff, as well as from universities and colleges across the country. Colleagues brought solidarity greetings and donations in person from UCL, Westminster, QMW, London Metropolitan University, the Institute of Education, Southwark College, City and Islington College, Tower Hamlets College, the University of the Arts and the London Nautical School. Supporters also came along from local workplaces, including the National Theatre and the National Gallery, and from other unions, including the NUT, PCS, Unite and Unison.

Around 50 people attended a lunchtime rally at Waterloo, while more than 200 students joined pickets for a rally on the Strand, which took place in an electric atmosphere. The huge crowd heard speeches from UCU representatives at King’s and elsewhere, from members of other unions and from a Sussex student who told of their struggles with their own management. Many students heard for the first time of the appalling treatment of our colleagues in Engineering by King’s management. The ‘We Support our Teachers’ campaign was a lively presence throughout the day. Dozens of students expressed their disdain at the way the College’s senior management addresses them in Orwellian ‘Newspeak’. Many have written to the Principal and Vice-Principal complaining that they feel patronised by senior management.

Our campaign in defence of education at King’s is partly about our colleagues’ livelihoods, and about the lack of regard shown to them by senior management. But it is clear that it is also about much more than this. The creeping culture of managerialism in universities is also an issue. The support we have received from students, and from colleagues who are either members of other unions, or not yet members of UCU, is an indication that this campaign is also about defending the values that underpin education at King’s and elsewhere, which include collegiality, respect for individuals, cooperation, intellectual integrity and academic independence.

The verve, humour, creativity and imagination of yesterday’s pickets offered us all a glimpse of the potential that exists within this institution for staff and students to make education at King’s more rewarding and more enjoyable. All too often this potential is either stifled or by-passed by the dead hand of senior management.

Our thanks and congratulations go to all who took part yesterday, and to everyone who showed their support for our campaign. Senior management teams across the country are offering no resistance to government cuts. They are determined to follow the example set by King’s and impose redundancies and department closures on their staff and students. The magnificent collective response to these attacks that we have seen at Leeds, Sussex, Kent and King’s is a powerful reminder to all that if we stand together we can defend our education system from the ministers and managers who want to turn it into a marketplace.

Jim Wolfreys

President KCL UCU

Please continue to send donations and messages of support to: ucu@kcl.ac.uk

For more information on our dispute see: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ucu

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KING’S COLLEGE LONDON, TUESDAY 30 MARCH: CELEBRATE RESISTANCE TO EDUCATION CUTS!

Tuesday 30 March will see the first ever local strike against management by UCU members at King’s College London. We have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action against a £27m cuts programme that has put 205 jobs at risk of redundancy, with more to follow. 

* Whole departments are set to close – Engineering, Dental Mictobiology, American Studies, Equality and Diversity – with other areas also under threat – Palaeography, Logic, Linguistics, the Institute of Psychiatry, Biomedical and Health Sciences.

* All this in a College where 202 staff earn over £100k a year, with a combined salary bill of £29m, and where a £100k salary cap would save £9m a year.

* Management have by-passed the proper channels of consultation to impose redundancies. Most staff learned that the country’s oldest Engineering department was to close via the College’s website, before any formal consultation had taken place.

All this helps explain why King’s staff returned the highest proportion of votes in our union’s history (85%) for some form of industrial action. But this fight is not about King’s alone. If our management’s redundancies are not stopped, it will give confidence to every management team in higher, further and adult education, who believe that the top-down management model in place at King’s can impose cuts on everyone, everywhere. More seriously, it will convince any future government that education is a soft target as they try to recoup the billions spent on the banking sector.
 
Speaking at King’s four days before the strike Tony Benn told students and staff that, ‘What you’re doing is educating College management in the importance of education.’ At a time when Peter Mandelson is attempting to prevent young people from going to university, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer is contemplating cuts that will be ‘worse than Thatcher’, we also need to educate the present government, and its successor, about the importance of education. So our fight is also your fight.
 
We are calling on everyone to join us on our picket lines (7am to 5pm) on Tuesday 30 March. We want our strike to be a lively celebration of resistance to cuts and a demonstration of our resolve to defend our colleagues’ jobs and our students’ education.
 
Join our rallies on Tuesday, open to everyone:
 
Tues 30 March 1pm KCL Strand and Waterloo site entrances
http://www.kcl.ac.uk/about/campuses/strand.html
http://www.kcl.ac.uk/about/campuses/waterloo.html

Tues 30 March 6pm London School of Economics, U8, Tower One, Ground Floor http://www2.lse.ac.uk/mapsAndDirections/findingYourWayAroundLSE.aspx
 
Please send donations and messages of support to: ucu@kcl.ac.uk
 
For more information on our dispute see http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ucu
 
In solidarity,
 
Jim Wolfreys, President KCL UCU 

Justine Stephens, Head of Campaigns, UCU, Carlow Street, London, NW1 7LH

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

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