Nothing is sacred

We can all learn something from Homer

Royal Holloway, University of London are closing their Classics department.

Now, I want you to read the title again, this time as a declaration of intent rather than as if bemoaning something.

RHUL Classics is actually being scaled down, and merged with the History department.  That’s not to say that an active campaign hasn’t been raised against it.  There is, for example, the Facebook group (3788 members and counting). There’s a petition too, and even a dedicated blog.  There have been a number of high-profile statements from the likes of  Stephen Fry and Boris Johnson.

The problem is that the campaign seems to be heavy on rhetoric and romance, and low on academic vigor.

For starters, let us look at the statements from Stephen Fry and Boris, as these appear to be seen by the ‘Save Classics’ campaign as enormous coups. Fry has written a short piece decrying the clearly barbarian nature of any such cut.  In full:

“It grieves me beyond measure to think that Royal Holloway believes it can dispense with its Classics and Philosophy departments and still claim status as a significant institution of higher learning. If it wants to change from education to vocation, then fine. But let no one be surprised when generation after generation emerge like robots, dedicated and adapted to one set of tools, while the liberating power of an educated mind, able to turn itself to any enquiry and master any discipline is denied them. You might as well tell the world that the Dorchester has decided against cooking and will be dispensing vitamin tablets to all its guests from now on. Fatuous, tragic, the falsest of false economies. I can hear the Houyhnhnms’ dying shivers as the Yahoos surge forward, knuckles grazing the ground.”

Now there’s no denying that the man can phrase a lovely sentence, however, I struggle to agree with a single word he says.  He implies that a university cannot be a quality university without a Classics department, and makes the implication that you cannot be educated without having degree level classics – somewhat insulting to the 99.9% of university graduates who have studied other subjects.  I’m pretty sure there are legions of ‘knuckle dragging’ engineers, scientists and professionals who might take a little offense at such a statement. It is a pretty stuffy view of the world, I fear based more in a romantic vision of quiet evenings in a leather-bound professorial office, sipping port by the fire with a  small group of undergraduates discussing the implications of Plato’s Republic rather than, lets say, reality.  I will tell you now that the quaint Victorian image is a load of bollocks.  Romantic bollocks that sucks people in, certainly, but bollocks all the same. It also appears to completely ignore the fact that Classics is not closing – it is being downscaled and incorporated into History – most would agree a natural combination (although it’s notable that the vast majority of Classics courses at RHUL are language based).

Boris’s statement is even better, and essentially can be summed up as ‘Classics can be useful, I trust the University of London will continue to run Classics courses’. Which of course they are, at Holloway, within the new History and Classics department.

At the end of the day HE is now dependent on departments being financially viable.  That is not the fault of universities. If the department of Classics cannot operate in its current form it has to change.  It cannot expect other departments to constantly bail them out. I particularly enjoy the mention in many articles of the Principal’s qualifications as a computer scientist – as if anyone without an arts qualification is some kind of uneducated heathen, out to close arts departments just for kicks.

Perhaps more fundamentally, the thing which no-one seems to be talking about, is that the Classics department has been unable to fill all its student places for years.  You can talk about the value of Classics all you like, but if there are so few people wanting to study it that one of the very few Classics courses still running in the country can’t operate at full capacity why on earth should other hard-pushed departments provide bail-outs to run a large Classics department? Claire Stocks, a Classics lecturer at the University of Manchester is quoted as saying “So many Classicists are concerned about the access so people can study it at university,” but no-one seems to have noticed that people don’t want to study it, which in the face of the “6 students for every place” figure becomes even more damning.

Now, don’t get me wrong here.  I agree that Classics and Philosophy are incredibly important subjects.  However, I would rather see them taught much earlier, or as something people can go along to for lectures and seminars on in their free time.  Fundamentally, however, if the department cannot operate in a way which is either cost effective or appealing to enough people to fill its places, then change surely has to come.

Nothing is sacred. You cannot defend a single department on the basis of some romantic vision.  Departments around the country are having to close.  Ultimately the question becomes if you want to save Classics, which department do you lose instead?

There is a taint of snobbishness about the ‘Oh but you simply can’t do without the classics!’ which ignores the fact that tens of thousands of people graduate with excellent degrees without ever having any contact with Classics.  They even appear to be fully functioning human beings, with minds of their own, opinions, and everything.  Some of them can discuss metaphysics after a few beers. There is a tendency to use the rhetoric of the survival of ‘mickey mouse’ degrees to contrast against the closure of Classics, which completely fails to recognise that these so-called mickey mouse degrees are run in completely different organisations.

The indignant ‘save Classics’ crowd are adamant that the staff loss and amalgamation of Classics into a joint department is some enormous slap in the face of human culture.  I beg to differ. By the argument that an HE institution can’t possibly be classed as such without a Classics department I would then ask ‘what about Chemistry, Medicine, PPE, or Archaeology?  Should RHUL open these departments at the same time? The fact is that RHUL is a small, research intensive university. If the department can’t bring in the research grants to support its work then what place does it have? Some kind of anachronism – preserved only for perceived intellectual snobbery rather than actual worth?

No, it’s not ideal that Classics is being shrunk, but better that than closed entirely.  The case for saving the department in its current form seems to be entirely reliant on romantic imagery and intellectually misleading rhetoric, and worst than that it’s masking restructures elsewhere within the university which are equally important.

Postscript: As something of a declaration of interests, I should probably point out here that I studied both Latin and Classics in a state secondary school, have read many of the classical philosophers in my spare time, and- most importantly – I am 1/4 Greek and therefore firmly of the opinion that pretty much everything is derived from the Greek you bunch of thieving barbarians.

[Update] There’s been rather a lot of discussion on this post both here and on the Save Classics at Royal Holloway Facebook group. I would encourage people to read through the various comments and responses before commenting themselves to minimise overlap and repetition.


About Pete Rowley

Earth Scientist with a background in volcanology and sedimentology. Enjoys a good rant, beer, and games. Dislikes reality TV, crowds, and unreasonable people.
This entry was posted in Education, General and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Nothing is sacred

  1. Some very good arguments against the campaign, and although I mostly disagree I can understand why you hold your point of view. However, one mistake you have failed to recognise is that ‘Classics’ is in fact being shut down, it is only the Classical Studies and Ancient History that will survive.

    What do you say to the argument that the department hasn’t been given enough time to make changes to their finances? It all seems a little rash to me, given the HE cuts have only been introduced this year and we are yet to see the impact it will have on any department in the university.

    • geologygeek says:

      A well made point r.e. Classics, my apologies.

      I agree it’s sudden, but universities have not exactly been givenany lead in time. The question is when the funding system changes next year how would the existing classics department fund itself? The point is that it couldn’t hence the downsizing and merger.

      Perhaps the bigger question is what restructuring has the department attempted over the last 5 years in view of its undersubscribed courses?

      I’m not claiming the approach being used is necessarily the right one, but these arguements need a devils advocate.

      • Naomi says:

        Only a minor point, given that as a Classics student myself I clearly cannot be grounded in reality, but surely the introduction of higher tuition fees will play a significant part in boosting university department funding, no?

        But far more importantly, you are a professor – at the university in question, no less. As an educator yourself, I would have thought you would be at the forefront of advocating and encouraging students to be passionate about their studies; thrilled that a student body could come together so quickly and protest their appreciation and enthusiasm for their subject.

        You are colleagues with the members of the Classics department you denounce. 7 of those colleagues – which 7 yet to be determined – are facing impending redundancy with the ‘scaling down’ of the department. I cannot fathom your motives for such an unsupportive and obtuse article rgarding your fellow educators. Should the geology, or any other department, be it at Royal Holloway, or some other educational institution, HE or no, be faced with similar cuts, I would hope both you and others would show more comradery than you yourself have done in writing jthis article.

      • geologygeek says:

        Naomi, let me clear a couple of things up.

        1. The higher fees are simply replacing what was previously given as government grants, so there is no net increase in money.

        2. I am not a professor, I am a postdoc researcher.

        3. And I can’t stress this one enough – I *am* an advocate of students being passionate about their subject. Where on earth have I said anything contrary to that? Unfortunately ‘coming together’ as a student body does not equate to effective campaigning, which is my point.

        4. And, again, I cannot stress this enough – I do not denounce the Classics department in any way. Personally I feel that removing things from the academic portfolio is rarely a good idea. However, that doesn’t necessarily make a justifiable business case – and however much we might dislike it, universities are now businesses. If the campaigners want to make an effective campaign they need to start thinking about why Classics (and other departments) are in the situation they are and look at how the campaign can be tailored to answer those issues. I don’t want to see Classics cut down or done away with, but the current campaign in no way deals with the fundamental issues. You can decry the academic loss as much as you like, but it didn’t work for saving Chemistry at Holloway many moons ago, and it won’t work here. My article was intended to put the point across that the campaigners need to get better. Instead, people appear to be misreading it as some assault on the department, which it is not and in all honesty, I am struggling to see where they get this impression, unless they are coming to the article and then posting comments based purely on what they expect me to have written, rather than what I actually have.

  2. William says:

    It must have been a difficult 5 minutes, researching this piece. First, the things that are downright wrong:
    1. The Classics department is not being “merged” with the History department. That implies some level of equality. Instead, oversight on every level is being taken from Classics and given to History, effectively making Classics a slightly specialist history course, rather than a degree programme in its own right.
    2. Those who assume the campaign is based on romance are drawing that conclusion by looking at the facebook page. It’s akin to assuming that My Chemical Romance are comprised entirely of 14 year old emo girls. In fact, negotiations between the Department and the management hinge on the financial state of the department, not its “posturing”, as I’m sure the suthor perceives it.
    3. You have missed the point of Stephen Fry’s statement in so many ways, but the easiest way to try and show that is to point out that the professions of Engineers, scientists, architects and so on who claim go through life without a knowledge of Classics at all, would all be non-existent had the classical world not created those disciplines. This has a direct knock-on effect evident in the Latin categorisations for botany, the classical names for many technical architectural devices, and the amount of Latin and Greek contained within the periodic table. Furthermore, it is impossible to become competent, let alone eminent, in any of those professions without therefore having at least some knowledge of classics.
    4. Classics and History are not a natural combination. History looks at the flow of events. Classics looks at everything that two huge, powerful and long-running civilisations ever produced. The difference should be evident. Also, as a side-note, that the author finds it notable that the Classics course at Holloway is language based would seem to be proof that they have little understanding of what a Classics degree comprises.
    5. Financial viability is not everything, although Paul Layzell would have you believe so. Although it is perhaps a somewhat flighty argument, I put it to the author that subjects such as Classics are worth more than their balance sheet, in the same way that The Times and The Sunday Times are maintained by NewsCorp, despite being run at a substantial loss. If financial solvency were everything, Paul Layzell would not also be downsizing the Computer Sciences Department. It draws a high proportion of Overseas Students, who in turn bring with them £12,000 a year in tuition fees, rather than the measly £3,000 or so currently provided by domestic students.
    6. The Classics Department had no need to go to clearing this year, as is often the case. Arguments that it is under-subscribed are based on figures produced by the upper management of Royal Holloway, and are considered suspect to say the least.
    7. The suggestion that Classics should be taught as though they were an extra Modern Language Speaking Class (which Layzell has already axed) is laughable. Any understanding of the classical world, from whatever aspect, is infinitely more difficult if one is not able to find anyone qualified and willing to teach it. With Classics reduced by such a size, the author’s suggestion relies on the assumption that either the redundant professors will pop back for some sort of after-school club, or that the remaining faculty miraculously sprouts the kind of breadth and depth of classical knowledge currently contained within the heads of Classics professors whose jobs are under threat.
    8. The use of straw man “mickey mouse” degrees seems a little less far-fetched with the announcement that Holloway is hosting a degree set out and controlled by Pearson’s. This is held up to be a good thing, that a private company, answerable only to its shareholders, will now have a direct say on what people at Holloway are taught. The suggestion that Classics cannot consider itself more worthy than this is, frankly, insulting.
    9. Just a small thing, but Holloway offers a degree in Archaeology. Can you guess what department it’s in?
    This leads on to the main fallacy in this argument: the idea that the downsizing of the Classics department does not spell its death. With the number of redundancies planned, Holloway will no longer be able to offer a range of modules such as it currently does. Other institutions, with their Classics departments intact, will be seen, rightly, as having more choice of a higher quality. Classics departments thrive on being able to offer well-sourced, plentiful and varied modules run by professors who know their subjects intimately. It is no coincidence that Oxford University’s Mods and Greats Classics Course (Literae Humaniores II) is held up as the paramount of Arts degrees. It so happens that students taking this course can choose between no fewer than 89 different modules.
    Therefore, prospective students will not put Holloway as their first choice, seeing it as a limited, intellectually superficial course. Applicant numbers will drop below the 40 threshold that management proposes, at which point Layzell will feel he is justified in reducing Classics further. This cycle will continue until the Classics department, in any format, is closed permanently. Do not mistake, these changes spell the end for Classics at Royal Holloway.

    In essence, this article has been written with a schoolboy’s knowledge of Classics as a whole, and even less about how a Classics department must function within its parent institution. It has errors of fact and errors of judgement, and is a slur against all those seeking to prevent Paul Layzell and his cronies from interfering with Royal Holloway’s Classics Department. Perhaps the author had best stick to Geology form henceforth.

  3. William says:

    Having researched you a little, Dr Rowley, I need to apologise. I had thought that I was addressing someone of maybe 18, who was only stumbling across the entire issue by chance or a vague connection. I had underestimated your ignorance.
    My initial impressions are that it’s not entirely your fault. You have only ever studied at Holloway, where you work now (I’m not going to count the 1 year PGCE at Brunel, although I must admit, I’m fascinated- it seems you may have started a teaching job before completing it? Well done!), your girlfriend works at and studied at Holloway, in a closely related subject. Why should you not, therefore, swallow wholesale what your theoretical boss, Paul Layzell, tells you? It is safer by far to toe the party line.
    What intrigues me, though, is why the fact that the Geography department is also being affected doesn’t seem to bother you. I mean, if you can assume Classics is basically History then I must assume that Earth Sciences are basically Geography. Therefore, what is essentially your own subject is having its funding cut. I mean, it’s true, you got through your doctoral thesis in time, before the postgraduate programme got “examined” for cost effectiveness (I would love to have been given a doctorate for playing with pretend lava flows for 4 years too), but doesn’t it worry you that future Geoscience graduates may not have the same opportunities? Admittedly, the rumour is that Geography aren’t going to lose staff. Yet. But doesn’t that worry you at all? Because once Layzell’s done ruining classics, he’ll turn his attention elsewhere. In fact, he admitted in his very first meeting with representatives from one of the academic unions that he would hope to be talking about further redundancies next year. If we lose our battle, it makes your potential prospects look slimmer.
    Considering you must have grown up almost within sight of Ely Cathedral, in all its Classics-inspired glory, then I would have thought you’d have more respect for my discipline. Do not speak whereof you cannot comprehend, Dr Rowley. It’s good advice.

  4. geologygeek says:

    Wow, William I must have really touched a nerve.

    1. My apologies for getting a terminological difference incorrect. However, I believe most people would agree that what you outline could accurately be described as a merger. I didn’t go into how courses would be administered as I did not have the facts, but my point that the classics department is being merged with History stands. Merger means the departments are running as a single entity and do not control independent student cohorts. My point stands.

    2. You appear unable to distinguish between the negotiations and the campaign. The negotiations are, of course, based on the financial details. The campaign is very much not. I think you’ll find my piece is regarding the campaign.

    3. It is entirely possible to become pre-eminent in a sci/tech subject without any knowledge of the classics (although I wouldn’t recommend it). The idea that you need some kind of grounding in Latin or Greek to use scientific nomenclature is akin to suggesting that every cook needs degree level chemistry in order to know how baking powder works.

    4. If we work on the assumption that the Classics department is not a viable department in its own right, and the options are therefore merger or closure, I would say history is the best place for the merger to occur (or perhaps a combined Languages department). You say that History looks at the run of events, and Classics at two particular civilisations – surely these are subsets of History? Furthermore, surely the job of Classicists is to look at how the output of those two civilisations impacted subsequent history and therefore has any relevance today?

    5. Alas, the inner workings of the Principals mind are not something I can read, and I agree financial viability should not be the only concern. But in the current situation that universities are placed in, and the situation which the department is in, I felt a devils advocate post along this vein would provide some balance. Sorry if it offends you that anyone should voice the counterarguments, but regardless of whether we think it *should* be, money *is* an issue.

    6. I would be interested to see where this disparity in figures has come from.

    7. The model I suggested was a purely hypothetical ideal, where all students get the opportunity to engage with Classics, and would therefore be one where funding was not dependant on acting as a standard academic department. Surprise surprise, I haven’t fleshed out the precise details of funding that – I was merely thinking out loud.

    8. As I believe the kids say these days… “It’s all about the money, money, money….”. Again, I never said I agreed with it but them’s the breaks.

    9. Archaeology. The study of our past through the recovery of artefacts and environmental information, spanning human culture. Well, on the basis of it not being restricted to Greek and Roman culture I’m going to have to go by your own definition and assume it’s run in the history department? But of course we know it’s within Geography. Either way you appear to be wilfully obfuscating my point that a course within a department is not the same as a dedicated department. Which is what this whole article is about.

    Quite why you feel the need to list my CV, which is openly available via a link from this website anyway, i don’t know. Yes, I studied my undergraduate degree and postgraduate degree at Holloway – the department specialises in what I’m interested in. You’ll be delighted to hear that I did indeed start a teaching job before completing my PGCE. Why you bring my girlfriend into it I have absolutely no idea. For the record, when bringing personal details into a debate in order to attempt to place a value of someone’s opinion versus your own, it is considered somewhat bad form to do so anonymously. I actually don’t mind, but I know many will find it a little odd.

    To return to your argument, I will emphasise that you missed my point. In your furore over Classics, you are making the very mistake I caution about at the end of the article, and you then throw it back in my face as if it’s my problem. The campaign about Classics is masking cuts elsewhere. Read the last line of the article again. Why is there not a broader more structured campaign? Of course the threats to Geography worry me, as do those to Computer Science and the languages. However, this article is about Classics because of the very high profile and – in my opinion – poorly structured campaign that has been covering the social media for the last couple of weeks.

    Let me make my position here very clear: I would rather never see a place of higher education have to make any cuts. I would love to see departments showered with research funding and the ability to really start building a knowledge based economy in this country. However, I’m realistic enough to recognise that’s not going to happen any time soon, and as a result cuts are going to have to be made. How the Principal and College Council (the head of which is himself a Classicist by the way) has gone about deciding who and where is known only to them, and I can’t say I necessarily agree with them. Perhaps what should be taken from my article is that the campaign for saving Classics (note: campaign, not negotiations) needs to do a far better job than it has done so far of addressing the actual issues at stake, in terms of garnering any kind of public support.

    As one final retort to your comment “I would love to have been given a doctorate for playing with pretend lava flows for 4 years too” all I would say is “Do not speak whereof you cannot comprehend”. By all means take a pop at a my blog – I genuinely appreciate that you’ve taken the time to enter into a debate (even though you do go about it in a somewhat snide and offensive manner). However, petty ill-informed sniping and what amount to underhand criticisms of my career make you come across poorly, and rather like the bitter old academics that everyone avoids at conferences.

    I’m sorry my blog appears to have upset you, and I’m sorry that you seem to think that as I am not in the Classics department I should not say anything – I’m afraid I don’t agree with that particular expectation. I do not set out to offend, but I hope you can at least see that the argument in the original article is regarding the quality and content of the campaign, not the underlying issue. If the campaign is not convincing me you can be damn sure there are plenty of others it’s not convincing either. I hoped that the Simpsons image at the top of the article might help with the realisation that the article was somewhat tongue-in-cheek for those who do not know me or my writing style.

  5. I replied as well. Perhaps, Dr. Rowley, you will be interested in reading it.

    • geologygeek says:

      An interesting reply, thank you for taking the time to write it.

      However, I would refer you to the responder below who actually put it more clearly and succinctly than I managed at 6am this morning: My point is not that Classics is without value – there is no question it is important. The fundamental issue is that the campaign to save Classics at Royal Holloway is stuck trying to justify Classics as a whole, rather than dealing with the specifics of why Classics should remain at RHUL.

      • Juan A. Caballero Prieto says:

        Thank you for reading. I shall read further indeed. I can now see the specifics of your argument, and I do appreciate your point of view in a clearer, more pinpointed light. I remain the same however, in the fact that the principle of overall value is one of the main reasons to save Classics; although I agree, unless RHUL executives see the necessity to save the department at their own institution, it is unlikely that they will understand its importance in that of others. I am glad that we were able to steer this possibly heated conversation into a beneficial debate in regards to furthering the campaign.

  6. Luke says:

    A very interesting and thought provoking blog. I think Dr. Rowley raises some really good points about the campaign and its focus the benefits of classics generally (which no one questions) rather than specifically at rhul, a question that is less engaged with.

    To the other responders, quite honestly (speaking as a 2nd year classics phd student) the notion the no one outside of a classics department could possibly add anything to this debate and should be mocked for not having studied classics (referring to Facebook responses here too) is shameful and the exactly the kind of parochial thinking which typifies everything wrong with our subject.

    • geologygeek says:

      I’m glad you thought there was something of merit in it, and thanks for putting the main point so succinctly.

  7. Helen Eastman says:

    I just wanted to clarify why classicists in the dept. are concerned by abolishing the department and the absorption of some parts of it into history, politics and english (it isn’t as simple as a merger with history, the proposal is that one key academic is moved to English, a couple to history, and a couple to politics). Firstly this spells the end of language teaching. Not only does this mean the department, currently esteemed as one of the best in the country, will no longer be regarded as a ‘proper’ department internationally as it doesn’t teach language, it will also spell the end of a department which allows those who have not had access to classics at school level to study the language. The dept. has an international reputation, which will evaporate under these proposals. More over it’s research culture will be effectively curtailed by the fragmentation of its academics into various departments. I completely understand that at an initial look saying, ‘let’s merge this department with another’ seems attractive, but the way this is being proposed really does spell the end of a dept. which can attract academics on an international platform. It’s a hasty and seemingly irreversible decision, which many in the department think needs greater consultation, more time to consider alternatives and an outcome which keeps the department intact. And, in response to above, as one of the AHRC funded PHDers in the Classics Dept. I think there are many of us engaged in the specifics of the Classics at RHUL debate, though there are also those who are just showing their support for the subject in general via the facebook site, at a time when the subject is threatened at many universities. The govt.s identification of STEM subjects having greater perceived value to them (ill-argued in the Browne report, and endorsed by a govt with predominantly non STEM degrees) may have contributed to those outside of STEM subjects being exceedingly ready to defend their disciplines at this time. Robustly and floridly at times…

    • geologygeek says:

      There’s nothing wrong with a robust and florid defence – and your reply is the first occasion I have personally seen providing a robust academic defence of Classics at RHUL, so thank you. That argument needs to be seen more widely if the campaign ever wants to garner the support of academics and staff in other departments which would ultimately be necessary if Classics is to be saved.

  8. William, as much as I agree with some of the points you have put forward, your approach and tone are really not helping us portray a positive image of the campaign. There is absolutely no need to get personal and insult Dr Rowely’s profession; that simply adds to his argument that we appear to be saying Classics is the *only* respectable academia, when it should not be like that at all.

    I would love to give a valid response to your points Dr Rowely, but unfortunately I simply have not been provided with enough information on the departments finances to think up a realistic solution. I have no idea to what extent the department runs a loss, or why exactly this is, and therefore how on earth we can turn this around. At the beginning of the campaign we did ask countless times, but it is yet to be shown to us. This is something I believe to be real hindrance to our progress, and it should be forgiven that we have been left with not much else to do besides glorifying Classics. Even so, as I and a fellow fresher have already discussed, that doesn’t mean that is all we can do for the moment, and I’m sure if we all put our heads together we could come up with some financial solutions. I know some members of the campaign resent this and feel this shouldn’t be about monetary factors, but ‘When in Rome’, I agree it is unrealistic for us not to consider this rather major issue.

    However, something that did make me feel a little uneasy is the £1,000,000, 10 week building project the University has put in place this summer… Now, please correct me if I’m wrong (I don’t know whether the money has come from SU events or anything of that sort), but in a financial crisis where departments are being shut down and/or merged, it seems like a bad time to be building fancy new SU bars…

    • geologygeek says:

      You’ll have to speak to the SU (contact the President in the first instance would be my advice) about the details – I’m sure they’ll be forthcoming as their accounts are public record anyway. However, I *believe* the money has come from a long term refurbishment budget. The SU has badly needed refurbishing for a long time – I was actually part of the Sabbatical team who put forward plans for a new SU building back in 2001 – something which has been on a theoretical priority list of new works at College for even longer. The SU has had 2 or 3 new buildings proposed in the last 15 years, which all fell at the funding hurdle when other things were prioritised.

      Ultimately, there’s a lot of separate accounts and budgets and they don’t necessarily bare much relation to one another.

      I’m not sure where people stand on access to the accounts. You may have a job getting hold of them. Try searching on the website for Finance Committee or budget stuff. You may turn up some information.

    • Jasmine says:

      All alumni have access to the consultation document – I contacted Helen Coleman and she sent me a copy – it shows the financial, recruitment and research arguments for the department closure. Stop complaining that you have not had any information and just send the email. Perhaps if you saw the university’s justification in merging the department then you could target your arguments more effectively. ‘Classics is old’ is not going to cut it – the viability of the subject, the funding of the research all have to be addressed and emotional responses such as – -it’s a wonderful department’ are going to have no impact.

  9. Ah that is okay then, thank you for clearing that up 🙂 Will do!

  10. Pingback: Look what they’ve done to us « geologygeek

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