23 July 2015, The Tablet

Philosophers call for Heythrop College to be saved from closure

Academics from universities across the country have signed a letter from the British Philosophical Association calling for Heythrop College to be saved.

Last month it was announces that the Jesuit-run college, which specialises in Theology and Philosophy, will close as a college of the University of London in 2018. Now, however, 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 letter, published in The Tablet this week, was written by Professor Robert Stern of the University of Sheffield who is president of the association. Other signatories include heads of philosophy departments such as Professor Maria Rosa Antognazza, of Kings College London, Professor Julian Dodd, of Manchester University and Professor Fiona Macpherson, of Glasgow University. “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.”

Heythrop College, which has around 650 students, had been in talks to merge with St Mary’s University in Twickenham, South West London but these collapsed earlier this year. The college had been in financial difficulty linked to increased burdens of regulation and pressure on student numbers. The Jesuits who have funded Heythrop and own its site in Kensington, central London, are exploring the creation of an institute outside of the control of the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Full list of signatories:

Dr Alison Ainley, Principal Lecturer Philosophy, Anglia Ruskin University
Professor Maria Rosa Antognazza, Head of Department of Philosophy, King's College London
Dr Sorin Baiasu, Philosophy Programme Director, Keele University
Dr Alex Barber, Head of Department of Philosophy, The Open University
Dr Bob Brecher, University of Brighton
Dr Mark Cain, Programme Lead for Philosophy and Religion, Department of History, Philosophy and Religion, Oxford Brookes University
Dr Gideon Calder, Professor of Social Ethics, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of South Wales
Prof Julian Dodd, Head of Philosophy, University of Manchester
Dr Meena Dhanda, Course Leader Philosophy, University of Wolverhampton
Dr Edward Harcourt, Chair, Philosophy Faculty Board, Oxford
Dr Kath R. Jones. Senior lecturer in Philosophy, University of Greenwich,
Professor Fiona Macpherson, Head of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Glasgow
Prof Denis McManus, Head of Philosophy, University of Southampton
Prof Peter Milne, Philosophy, University of Stirling
Dr David Edward Rose, Subject Leader in Philosophy, Newcastle University
Prof Stella Sandford, Head of Department of Philosophy, Kingston University
Prof Jennifer Saul, Head of Department, Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield
Dr Raj Sehgal, Programme Convenor for Philosophy, Theology & Religion, University of Roehampton
Dr Nicholas Shackel, Reader in Philosophy, University of Cardiff
Dr Jonathan Tallant, Department of Philosophy, University of Nottingham
Prof Tim Thornton, Professor of Philosophy and Mental Health, University of Central Lancashire

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