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.


1,061 thoughts on “Save Ruskin’s BA and MA Courses

  1. To my Ruskin comrades: this fight is just starting regardless of what the college administration may think. There will be a global outcry over the closure of Ruskin’s ILTUS programmes. You are not alone.


  2. Horrified by the news. Ruskin is nothing without a strong labour department.

    Kae Smith, former Ruskin College Students’ Union President 2013-14.


  3. Phil Hedges, Trade union organiser, TUC Organising Academy Allumnus (mostly taught at Stoke House, Ruskin College), MA ILTUS Allumnus


  4. Simon Taylor: Ruskin ILTUS BA and MA alumni (and if things stand as they are, the only person ever able to say that), UNISON branch officer and Unite member.
    I am terribly disappointed and saddened at the decision to effectively close the ILTUS programme to newcomers, treat the brilliant tutors with contempt in their dismissal, and concerned as to the ability of the remaining cohorts (who have invested heavily in both time and money) to complete their degrees with the support they deserve.
    The Ruskin senior management team need to seriously rethink their decision.


  5. Julia Smith
    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow
    Department of History
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey


  6. Russell Greig, BA ILTUS 2008-2012. Regional Official ATL
    Completely unbelievable to hear that Ruskin has ended its ILTUS and MA programs, completely disregarding Ruskin’s trade union history, but also those individuals from working class backgrounds wanting to improve themselves and the world around them. Trade unions need more professionals for a fairer future.


  7. Chris Jones,
    Professor of Research in Educational Technology,
    Liverpool John Moores University

    At a time when mature and working class access to HE is under threat the closure of these courses would be disgraceful vandalism.


  8. I was extremely proud to graduate from Ruskin in October 2016. Born in Oxford and seeing Oxford University students living a life, working class students cannot comprehend. I was aware of Ruskin’s noble history from an early age. I am dumbfounded and feel betrayed by this decision. Louise Kowalska 2014-2016 Cohort, PCS Union, Edinburgh.


  9. A very retrograde decision at a time when we need to promote international solidarity and understanding.


  10. Ruskin MA ILTUS alumnus and lifelong supporter of working class education. The ILTUS courses were a beacon in a world of increasingly commercially based teaching. Bring it back please.


  11. Ex Ruskin graduate ILTUS programme now lecturer for Access to HE courses. The ethos behind this decision does not match the ethos behind why Ruskin college was started. Not everyone can take a traditional route to Higher education and specifically courses that enhance their knowledge when up against a neoliberal approach to both working conditions and education.


  12. Dr Graeme Chesters, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Peace Studies, Bradford University. Labour Studies Student at Ruskin College 1991-1993. Ruskin is part of the lifeblood of the labour movement and this decision is evidently short-sighted and carries with it enormous reputational damage. I would strongly urge the College management to think again and I would like to express my solidarity with all those currently affected by this decision.


  13. I am a trade unionist and former Ruskin student the loss of this facility will be a major loss this what Ruskin is all about re think the decision


  14. Union Officer, alumnus of TUC Certificate in Organising taught at Ruskin including excellent tutors from ILTUS programme


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s