Philosophers Object to Heythrop’s Closing (updated)


The governing board of Heythrop College, a constituent college of the University of London whose mission is “to serve society through philosophy and theology,” met in late June and concluded that “the College in its current form, as a constituent college of the University of London, will come to an end in 2018, although its mission and work will not.” Now, according to The Tablet:

Academics from universities across the country have signed a letter from the British Philosophical Association calling for Heythrop College to be saved…. 22 philosophers, a number of whom are in charge of university philosophy departments, have written in a letter that Heythop’s closure would be a “tragedy.”

The reasons for the closure are largely financial, explains Michael Holman, Heythrop’s Principal, in a statement on the college’s website:

In the last ten years, the College has had to provide for the costs of increased regulatory requirements without the economies of scale available to other colleges and universities. Expectations of all that makes up the “student experience” in addition to the quality of teaching and learning (for example, facilities, the technology infrastructure, internships and activities) have also increased and meeting these expectations has become more costly too.  Meanwhile, government reforms have meant that the market for students has become more competitive and, specialising in just two subject areas as we do, the opportunities to diversify have been limited.

The letter from the British Philosophical Association was published in The Tablet but appears to be behind a paywall. The news story about it, quoted above, provides some details:

The letter… was written by Professor Robert Stern of the University of Sheffield who is president of the association…. “Anyone who has worked in higher education over the past decades knows how difficult it is for a small institution to survive financially in the current climate, that financial crises are a constant fact of life, but also that things can quickly improve,” the letter states. “It would be a tragedy if this unique Jesuit college, with its centuries’-old history, were allowed to go under now, at the very time when it is making a really significant contribution to philosophical and theological research both nationally and internationally.”

The list of signatories is included in the article.

UPDATE (8/19/15): A petition to stop the closure of Heythrop College has been launched.

 

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