Paul Dundon’s Weblog

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A little cheese and a little whine

Please Protest the Suspension of Academic Staff at Middlesex

Feel free to skip my pontification and get straight to the detail available here, here and here.

We all get it that times are getting harder. We all understand that belts have to be tightened and savings made. We all realise that these are times of hard decisions, tough choices, difficult sacrifices, yada yada yada.

The decision of Middlesex University, then, to close its world-leading philosophy department is one which might have gone more or less unchallenged, with the usual suspects (those who were likely to lose their jobs) kicking up a fuss but the administration winning in the end. It was simply a matter of not losing their nerve.

Now, however, Middlesex have escalated the fight and crossed an important line. In response to protests against the cuts they have suspended a number of professors and students. This is woefully wrong on so many levels that I can’t begin to communicate them. It not only violates the principles of academic freedom but is unacceptable even from the point of view of civilised labour relations. This is not just heavy handed: it is a moment from another time, an episode from 19th century Prussia somehow transplanted into our midst. It simply has no place here.

When Proposition 8 was being debated in California, someone uttered the immortal words: I can’t believe we still have to protest this crap. The last 30 years have seen some important battles for rights and freedoms fought and won. Yet Proposition 8 passed. There are clearly still plenty of people who lack any sort of respect for rights and principles so basic that they should not even need to be articulated in civilised discourse. And while this remains the case, the old truth will hold: all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for the good to do nothing.

So please, do something. Details of what has happed at Middlesex are available here and here, and there are details of action you can take (including signing an online petition) here.

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Filed under: Politics

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My Bookshelf

The Golden Bough
The Value of Nothing
The Fire
A Wolf at the Table
Devil Bones

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