Staff and students in Edinburgh University's beleaguered centre for human ecology have accused university management of attempting "closure by deceit" in axing its MSc course.
They claim the CHE has been earmarked for closure because its radical approach to environmental issues has proved embarrassing to the institution.
Edinburgh's principal, Sir Stewart Sutherland, told senate last week that the MSc would be suspended for the coming session following the surprise resignation of CHE director Tim Birley after only six months. A court working party had concluded that a suitable replacement could not be appointed in time, and the quality of the course could not be guaranteed without a director.
A university spokeswoman said decisions about the centre had been taken on academic grounds, and not because of the controversial views of any CHE members.
The court has still to decide the CHE's long-term future, but as the university is now unlikely to renew the contracts of the two remaining part- time staff, CHE firmly sees this as impending closure.