Save Ruskin’s BA and MA Courses

Below is the text of a letter which we are going to send to the Guardian for publication. If you would like to be a signatory to this letter, please leave your name and title/position in the ‘Leave A Reply’ section below. Please also feel free to distribute this further amongst your union branches and networks.

Thank you for your support and solidarity.

As academics, working-class educationalists, labour movement practitioners, politicians, and alumni, we are shocked and angered by the decision taken by Ruskin College, Oxford to effectively close the International Labour and Trade Union Studies BA and MA courses by making all academic staff in this department redundant. The decision removes from the UK the only remaining institution providing labour and trade union studies.

Ruskin College was established in 1899 to provide education to working class people who couldn’t have otherwise gone to university, and since then the institution has contributed enormously to both the advancement of working-class lives, and the understanding and development of the labour movement.

In the context of the rise in precarious forms of work, further legislative attacks on trade unions, and attacks on higher education more broadly, it is imperative that we have a labour movement that can preserve and learn from our history and develop informed strategy on how to counter this onslaught. Ruskin College has a unique and integral role in doing this.

We therefore call on Ruskin College’s management to reverse this decision and ensure that an independent, radical, critical labour movement education is available for future generations.

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1,057 thoughts on “Save Ruskin’s BA and MA Courses

  1. Jon Clark, National Education Coordinator for the Transport Workers Union of Australia.

    If we are to change the world from what it is, to what it could be; we need strong strong and effective education delivered with the working class. The attacks on Ruskin college that have spanned the last 15 years are a blight on every person who says they care about injustice.

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  2. Ruskin is a hard fought for, value driven centre of excellence which has historically enabled talented people from all backgrounds, and particularly mature students , to study and achieve their potential. Its work with trades unions, with women’s studies, and with history and creative writing are legendary and both high quality and nurturing . It is unique. We cannot lose it . I taught some sessions in creative writing occasionally at Ruskin @ 12-14 years ago when Alistair Wisker was a creative writing tutor there, and founded a small writing prize. Jim Durkin and Audrey Mullender , previous committed principals would be similarly shocked by this pointless act of educational vandalism.

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  3. An appalling move. This is an essential College, given hope and extremely necessary educational balance and research to so many

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  4. Robert Roweth, Ruskin Student 1997/1998
    Ruskin College last the plot many years ago starting with the appointment of the head who’ s only ambition was to flog off the last remaining College Center during my time their. The current BA Industrial Relations course was run by a bunch of ‘Bankers’, but closing it down was never the answer to sheer incompetence what was needed was a change of direction so as to rediscover their roots in working class education.

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    1. I have been a Trade union activist in Local Government for 30 years and was hoping to retire in 2022 and do a BA at Ruskins but now may be disappointed

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Cath Williams, academic University of Nottingham. I studied at Ruskin in the early 1990s and am appalled by this decision. They are now closing programmes that are at the heart of what Ruskin was founded for. What will it be next? It is a real loss to anyone who cares about working class people’s history, learning and development. Clearly the executive do not. Shameful.

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  6. I attended Ruskin on a Trade Union scholarship and it was the best and most worthwhile experience of my life. We cannot allow this to be lost for future generations.

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    1. how I agree with your comments Louise I too went to Ruskin on a TU Scholarship and it changed my life and
      it would be tragic if the opportunity for others was taken away

      Like

  7. Jon Clay: Ruskin student 1990-1992, FE lecturer, HPL London South Bank University, author, poet, active UCU member.

    Solidarity with all Ruskin staff and students and in continued support of the college’s working class and trade union ethos.

    Like

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