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Education Crisis

TAKE BACK EDUCATION: EDUCATION ACTIVISTS NETWORK – NATIONAL CONFERENCE 31st OCTOBER 2010

National Conference – 31st October 2010

Under the new Con-Dem government, our education is under attack like never before. Education minister David Willetts wants fast-track degrees on the cheap and threatens to remove both the cap on university fees and the EMA for college students. University and college managers are slashing jobs, facilities and whole departments.

From the industrial action at King’s College and Tower Hamlets College to the student occupations at Middlesex University, we have been able to stop some of the most determined attacks. But the worst is still to come, and we urgently need to build and unite our resistance – and to lay out a different vision for education!

Speakers so far confirmed include:

– John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington
– Alex Callinicos, KCL lecturer & author of “Universities in a Neoliberal World”
– Student campaigners & trade union activists from King’s. Sussex, Middlesex and others
– Many others TBC

After the success of our London-wide activist meetings and especially of the teach-in at King’s College in February, with around 400 delegates from union branches and student anti-cuts campaigns across the country, and against the backdrop of the ConDem budget, the Browne review and a growing number of disputes in both HE and FE, we are encouraging all students and education workers to save the date.

We encourage campaign groups, Students’ Unions and Trade Union branches to formally back the conference, using the attached model motion, and anyone on Facebook can also RSVP to this event page.  (NB please disregard previous messages indicating a date of the 31st December, this was only ever a typo).

Website for Conference: http://educationactivistnetwork.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/national-conference-31st-october-2010/

Website for Education Activists Network: http://educationactivistnetwork.wordpress.com

Higher Education Crisis

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Philosophy

MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY PHILOSOPHY CAMPAIGN – UPDATE 26th MAY 2010

Campaign update Wednesday 26 May 2010 (http://savemdxphil.com/)

1. John Protevi and Todd May have posted a petition calling for an international academic boycott of Middlesex University, http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/academic-boycott-of-middlesex-university.html. Several hundred well-placed people have already signed it, in the space of a few hours. Please spread the word about this, far & wide.

2. The poet Michael Rosen renounced his visiting professor at Middlesex today. He explained that “On account of the action of Middlesex University over the Philosophy Department, I would like to inform Professor Ahmad that I would like to renounce my visiting professorship. I do not wish to be a visiting professor at Middlesex University. Best wishes, Michael Rosen.”

3. This morning, professors Osborne and Hallward were denied managerial permission to attend an emergency meeting of their union, the UCU, scheduled for Friday 28 May. They were also denied permission to attend the UCU annual general meeting scheduled for next Wednesday, and a meeting of the University’s self-constituted Professors Group.

4. Collective pressure to greylist i.e. boycott Middlesex University is growing rapidly. The external examiners for the Middlesex Philosophy department have already announced their refusal to collaborate with next month’s assessment boards, and colleagues in other departments may soon follow suit. A boycott by external examiners will have a significant and immediate impact on the University.

5. Last Friday Middlesex management told the four suspended students that their hearings would take place this Friday 28 May at the Hendon campus. Fiona Fall, who will preside over the hearings, suddenly decided this morning that it would be ‘better for the students’ to hold the meeting at Trent Park instead, since it is their ‘home campus.’ The four students explained that they would nonetheless prefer for the hearing to go ahead at Hendon as originally planned. But Fiona Fall has made up her mind. ‘As my understanding is that a rally of support is being organised at Hendon,’ she told one of the students, ‘I have decided that Trent Park continues to be the best most calm place to hold the hearings for both students and the panel.’

5. Confirmed speakers for the rally at Hendon on Thursday 27 May from 4pm include Alex Callinicos (KCL), Richard George (Campaign for Better Transport; Plane Stupid), Paul Gilroy (LSE), Nina Power (Roehampton), Jim Wolfreys (UCU), among others. Please circulate the rally announcement and flyer (http://savemdxphil.com/) to everyone who might be sympathetic.

The Campaign
26 May 2010.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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Philosophy

MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY STUDENT OCCUPATION AND CAMPAIGN

Dear all

Another quick update from Middlesex: the student occupation continues to hold strong, and in the next couple of days will host events in the Mansion Building with Eyal Weizman and some of his collaborators (Friday 14 May at 8pm), and with Tariq Ali (Saturday 15 May at 3:30). The full set of campaign events is posted at: http://savemdxphil.com/events/.

A list of campaign press links is also posted at  http://savemdxphil.com/press-coverage/; more articles will appear in the coming days, in The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph…

An overview of the campaign to date is posted at  http://savemdxphil.com/about/,

Yours Peter.

phallward@gmail.com

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

 

Philosophy

MIDDLESEX PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT CLOSURE – VIDEO

A video of interviews with those protesting to save Middlesex University Philosophy Department from closure: http://vimeo.com/11523774

More information about the protest & campaign here: http://savemdxphil.com/

Update 9th May 2010:

There was a very interesting article in The Observer today about leading academics backing student and staff actions to save philosophy at Middlesex University. Slavoj Zizek and Alain Badiou (amonsgt others) have spoken out about the importance and quality of philosophy at Middlesex University.

The article can be found on p.8 in the hard copy version of The Observer:

Doward, J. (2010) Academic revolt over philosophy cutbacks, The Observer, 9th May, p.8.

However, the online version has a different title:

Doward, J. (2010) Middlessex University cuts spark international protest from philosophers, The Observer, 9th May, online at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/09/middlesex-university-cuts-protest-philosophers

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

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

European Philosophy

PHILOSOPHY CLOSURE AT MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY

Late on Monday 26 April, staff in Philosophy at Middlesex University in London were informed that the University executive are to close all Philosophy programmes: undergraduate, postgraduate and MPhil/PhD.

Philosophy is the highest research-rated subject at Middlesex University, with 65% of its research activity judged ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the UK government’s recent Research Assessment Exercise. It is now widely recognised as one of the most important centres for the study of modern European philosophy anywhere in the English-speaking world. Its MA programmes in Philosophy have grown in recent years to become the largest in the UK, with 42 new students admitted in September 2009.

Middlesex offers one of only a handful of programmes left in the UK that provides both research-driven and inclusive post-graduate teaching aimed at a wide range of students, specialist and non-specialist. It is also one of relatively few such programmes that remains financially viable, currently contributing close to half of its total income to the University’s central administration.

Needless to say, Radical Philosophy very much regret this decision to terminate Philosophy at Middlesex, and its likely consequences for the teaching of philosophy in the UK.

This is a shameful decision which essentially means the end of the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, a hub for internationally renowned scholarship (http://www.web. mdx.ac.uk/ crmep/; staff include Eric Alliez, Peter Hallward, Mark Kelly, Christian Kerslake, Peter Osborne and Stella Sandford). This act of wilful self-harm by the University must be resisted.

Please join the facebook group and spread the word: http://www.facebook .com/group. php?gid=11910256 1449990

Campaign email: savemdxphil@ gmail.com

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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