Cash-strapped University of Leicester is to cut dozens of jobs. Apparently, courses on race, sexuality and diversity will be spared the chopping block while professors teaching the English language should seek new employment.
On Monday, the university disclosed details about its downsizing plans. Due to Covid-19, its income flows have dried up, so some of its 3,800 staff will have to go, with as many as 145 jobs slated to become redundant.
An email explaining the situation and announcing a 90-day consultation period was sent to employees, and some of them were quite unhappy with the management’s rationale for selecting which areas should be “disinvested.”
Apparently, among the primary candidates to be relieved of duty are teachers of medieval and early modern literature, along with the English language. But “innovative and thematically driven” courses are quite safe, including “modules on race, ethnicity, sexuality and diversity” – all of which will help protect a “decolonised curriculum,” according to an extract from the letter published on social media.
Some asked about the proposal's rationale: extract attached. As you’ll imagine, I’m bemused by the implication none of us already teaches/writes about race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or decolonising the curriculum: or that our areas aren’t relevant to the discussion pic.twitter.com/nnoU2CUygm
— David Clark (@dragonista99) January 20, 2021
“As you’ll imagine, I’m bemused by the implication none of us already teaches/writes about race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or decolonising the curriculum: or that our areas aren’t relevant to the discussion,” wrote medievalist David Clark, who teaches at Leicester’s School of Arts, sharing an extract of the email sent by the university.
One can certainly sympathise with anyone anxious about their job security amid the Covid-19 economic crisis and lament the looming loss of highly praised courses. Indeed, many expressed those exact sentiments.
Wait? What? So if I went to Leicester to study English Literature, I could expect to miss out Beowulf, Chaucer and early medieval texts? A whole chunk of history and works lost to their students? Not even a voluntary course? If we don't know our past, how do we plot our future?
— Dr Choake's Sister (@JoPolit) January 20, 2021
This is insane. The Leicester English degree has long had all of these things *and* an excellent Medieval Studies programme including some of the best training in Old English and Middle English literature available to undergraduates in the UK. I know because I took it!
— James Harland (@DJMHarland) January 20, 2021
But some responses to the woes of Leicester professors had a strong tinge of schadenfreude. “If English academics preach that the works of dead white men are worthless, expect uni bosses to take note,” one response said.
One reason for Leicester uni's forthcoming redundancies and *closing down* of medieval studies department is that they want to "decolonize the curriculum"Well…if English academics preach that the works of dead white men are worthless, expect uni bosses to take note. pic.twitter.com/EylE8FPFg6
— Stephen (@sb1984a) January 20, 2021
Western academia has become a stronghold for the worldview that education should first and foremost promote social justice and empower minorities. Critics say the push has gone too far and reached ridiculousness, where woke pseudoscience reigns supreme, while maths can be deemed irrevocably corrupted by white supremacy. Saving gender studies and parting with Beowulf arguably makes sense in that framing.
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In the world of ETHNOMATHEMATICS, 2+2=oppression and ‘achievement’ is a white supremacist construct
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