Outrage at axing of classics

August 16, 2002

Queen's University Belfast should beware the ides of August - classics scholars across the UK and Ireland have mobilised to protest against its decision to axe teaching in Latin, Greek and classical studies.

Ten leading scholars, led by Richard Janko of the department of Latin and Greek at University College London, have condemned the move as "intellectually incoherent". They argue that Queen's ultimately decided to support ancient history and Byzantine studies while stopping teaching "the languages and literatures which formed those societies".

A spokesperson for Queen's said that after the research assessment exercise, it had embarked on a restructuring plan that included assessing each subject against a range of criteria. "The absence of demand from high-quality students for Latin and Greek - no one was admitted in either subject last year - left the university with no option but to discontinue classical languages as a primary degree."

The spokesperson added: "However, the teaching of Latin and Greek will continue in the institute of Byzantine studies, and classical texts will be taught in their original language and translation in the institute and elsewhere at Queen's."

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