Friday, 28 May 2010

Middlesex Suspends Its Staff and Students!

In the increasingly bitter battle over the fate of the Philosophy Department at Middlesex University the management have taken the striking step of suspending 3 members of staff and 4 students. This rather drastic step is detailed in an extensive way  over at the website of the campaign to stop the closure. As is made clear there the basis of the suspensions is, in any case, somewhat dubious since it seems to violate standards of natural justice, restrict free speech and is, in any case, contradictory in terms of its application to the activities of staff. The Professors' group at the university has also submitted a letter attacking the decision made to close the Philosophy Dept. This group was set up by Professors entirely independent of the structures of the university but the university has also barred the suspended members of staff from attending it!

In addition to the protests of the campaign their has also been an outcry against both the suspension decisions and the broader step of closing the Philosophy Dept from publishers and has inspired a recent article in the New Statesman. The action of suspending members of staff has also led to a campaign for an academic boycott of the university. One of the results of this has been that the poet Michael Rosen has formally renounced the Visiting Professorship he held at Middlesex. Finally, on my recent visit to Pisa for the International Kant Conference (about which, more anon), the subject of this closure was raised with me several times by delegates from both the US and other European countries. 

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