Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pittsburgh Classics Under Siege

Sign the petition.
[via] The following is by Mary Louise Gill:

I write to alert you to a dire situation in Classics at the University of Pittburgh (my previous home before coming to Brown University). The Pitt Administration proposes to cancel graduate admissions. This would not only affect the Department in a detrimental way but would also destroy the interdisciplinary Program in Classics, Philosophy, and Ancient Science and weaken Philosophy and History of Science.. More than 1000 people have signed the petition so far. We should overwhelm the admisnitration with objections! Here is the statement I wrote when I signed the petition: The University of Pittsburgh administration tried to make such a move once before, and on a broader scale (when I was Chair of Classics and Chair of the Humanities Council in 1996-97). The effort failed, though the lack of administrative support resulted in the mass exodus of good faculty, including most of the excellent Department of Linguistics. I learned at the time that Pitt Classics was the most cost-effective department in FAS at Pitt, making about 50% more for the University than we cost. The graduate students contributed substantially to that success. What financial value can there be to this recent move and what are its academic implications? It destroys Classics, destroys the internationally-renowned Graduate Program in Classics, Philosophy, and Ancient Science (CPAS), and will weaken the highly ranked Departments of Philosophy and History and Philosophy of Science. Humanities Departments are cheap and they are the backbone of the University. The Administration should foster these departments and replace positions in Classics, including the position in ancient philosophy, the funding for which was withdrawn in 2008-2009. The current plan will reduce the University of Pittsburgh to mediocrity, an outcome foreseen by many commentators on this petition and by many colleagues at Pitt. Here is the petition, and I hope that many of you will sign and forward it to others.

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