Publishers express 'grave concerns' over Middlesex University suspensions

<p>Publishers, including Verso and Bloomsbury Academic, have called for the decision to close Middlesex University&#39;s philosophy department to be reconsidered and have branded the suspension of students and three members of staff from the department &quot;an unwarranted and unjustifiable act of intimidation&quot;.</p><p>The staff - professors Peter Osborne, Peter Hallward, and Christian Kerslake - and students were suspended last Friday, following a sit in to protest against the closure of the department. According to the <em>New Statesman</em>, a spokesperson for the university board of governors alleged that <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/cultural-capital/2010/05/middlesex-uni... target="_blank">a group of protesters had &quot;forcibly entered the building&quot;, breaching a High Court Injunction obtained by the institution a week earlier.</a></p><p>The letter sent to <em>The Bookseller</em> and national media, and signed by 18 publishers, said the decision to close the philosophy department had &quot;roused the indignation of the academic community across the world&quot;. The letter continued: &quot;As publishers we have benefited in many ways from the skills of those teaching at the department, and from the lively atmosphere of debate engendered across the disciplines by its work. </p><p>&quot;Consequently, we feel bound to speak up in its defence. The closing of this department would be disastrous for the academic and intellectual life of this country, and we urge that the decision to do so be reconsidered.&quot;</p><p>Other publishers who signed the letter included Serpent&#39;s Tail, Pluto, Edinburgh University Press, Earthscan, Manchester University Press, Jessica Kingsley and I B Taurus. It added the publishers had expressed &quot;grave concern&quot; at the suspension of the professors and students. </p><p>&quot;We believe this to be an unwarranted and unjustifiable act of intimidation by the administration and board of governors of Middlesex University, and we call for the immediate reinstatement of suspended students and staff.&quot;</p><p>Last November, <em>The Bookseller</em> revealed the institution&#39;s senior management<a href="../news/101482-middlesex-university-press-to-close.html" target="_blank"> had decided to shut down Middlesex University Press, claiming it was &quot;irresponsible&quot; to invest further in the company. </a></p>