Claremont Graduate University Closes Philosophy Department

Claremont Graduate University has closed its philosophy department and fired its two tenured philosophy professors, according to a report at Inside Higher Ed.

The university’s administration and Board of Trustees made the decision in May, with the school’s president citing a “combination of market, enrollment, and limited faculty resources,” according to a news item at the Claremont website. It was not clear that the philosophy faculty was consulted at all in the decision.

The philosophy department had already planned, in Spring of 2017, to phase out its PhD program and move to offering only a terminal MA, but that plan will not go forward. It is not clear what will happen with the current students.

IHE reports:

Professors learned of the university’s plan to eliminate philosophy in its entirety in late April. The university’s Board of Trustees voted for closure in mid-May. And both faculty members were terminated on June 30 with what amounted to one day’s notice, said Charles Young, a longtime professor of philosophy at Claremont and one of those now out of a job.

“We were each given the day before an offer to continue as contract employees,” he said. “The offers were unacceptable in form and content, and presented as take-it-or-be-fired. We ignored them and got fired the next day.”

Young also said Monday that he believed his health insurance had been canceled on June 30, and that no one from the university had informed him of that change…

Masahiro Yamada, department chair, is currently in Japan but confirmed that he was terminated June 30… 

Patrick Mason, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities… wrote to philosophy students, alumni and faculty of the university and the affiliated Claremont Colleges… He assured the 10 students now enrolled in the Ph.D. program that they had the full support of the university to complete their degree programs.

Claremont said a “path to completion” would soon be in place, including the possibility of working with the university’s “existing philosophy faculty.” But as of today, that appears to be no one. The department’s third professor, Patricia Easton, is currently serving as provost full-time. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Much more here.

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