We Oppose the UW's Amalgamation of the Humanities

The administration announced on November 12th the amalgamation of the departments of Philosophy, Classics, and Religious Studies into a new department, name yet to be determined. Citing budgetary pressure, the administration suggested that this move would save the University money: a total of $30,000 - from an Arts budget of $1.2 million dollars. However, this savings is illusory and hides the fact that the move will effectively end Philosophy at the University of Winnipeg. In the past two years, the Philosophy department has lost over 50% of its faculty, and not one member has been replaced. Instead, its contractual professors have recently been told their contracts would not be renewed. It has thus gone from 9 members in 2008 to 4 in the upcoming year. At present the department is without the faculty needed to deliver the required courses for a B.A. or H.B.A. programme in Philosophy. Two years ago the Philosophy department offered the equivalent of 25 courses in philosophy; next year it will be able to offer only 7.5 - significantly below the minimum to retain our degree programmes. Both Classics and Religious Studies are similarly under-staffed, and have also been waiting for faculty funding. Instead of replacing faculty or supporting the department of Philosophy, the University seeks to roll these three under-funded departments into one, with no offer of new faculty hires. It is hard to see how students will be able to receive a degree in Philosophy without an independent Philosophy department, and without the necessary number of courses offered. Without support and renewal, these departments will not be able to deliver their degree programmes, and will be effectively dissolved. The University of Winnipeg prides itself on delivering a first-rate liberal arts education. If such an education includes the Humanities, then certainly the Humanities includes Philosophy. I, the undersigned, place my name on this petition, which will be forwarded to Lloyd Axworthy, President of the University of Winnipeg, in solidarity with those who oppose this proposed amalgamation. With this amalgamation, and without renewed staffing, the Department of Philosophy faces extinction.

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