Time to think again

September 1, 2011

We are writing on behalf of the local branch committee of the University and College Union at Royal Holloway, University of London. The proposals to close the department of Classics and philosophy, as well as changes to other departments at the institution, were made without proper consultation and discussion through the academic board and elsewhere in the university.

There seems to be a belated attempt by college management to conduct an informal consultation through Royal Holloway's intranet. It is not clear whether this sort of exercise is appropriate or will come up with much helpful information.

The UCU has asked management to provide financial figures on the savings projected from the closure of the department of Classics and philosophy and the other proposed changes. We have also asked for any market study that examined future projections of student numbers. To date, management has been unable or unwilling to provide these data.

In the absence of such figures, it is unclear whether there is any financial or market-based rationale for the proposal to close the department. We call on Royal Holloway's management to withdraw these contentious proposals and properly examine the future role for one of the college's most venerable and distinguished departments.

Jeff Frank, chair, local branch committee University and College Union

Duska Rosenberg, vice-chair, local branch committee, UCU

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