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.

1,017 thoughts on “Save Ruskin’s BA and MA Courses

    1. Labor Studies ourses must be saved at Ruskin College, Oxford. I would be glad to help develop online Labor Studies courses to expand college revenue. Working class students need online Labor Studies courses focusing on legal criticism and radical activism.

      Dr. Reid Friedson
      Professor & Consultant

      Cornell University Worker Institute (USA)


  1. As a former student of Ruskin I am bound to say that Ruskin represents a unique example of an institution founded and funded by the British labour movement that has made such a huge difference to the lives of many least privileged in our society. It is a dreadful retrograde step and must be reversed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The administration of Universities should not be seen solely as business ventures. The Unique courses offered by Specialised institutions of training are the Hallmark of Great Institutions of Learning. Bringing an end to this tradition in a period where labour training is more needed than ever before can only be of great concern to all well wishers. We urge the Management to reconsider their decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John Ruskin would not have wanted the college to close especially at a time when the Right is in the ascendency across the world.


  4. Prof. Stefan Berger, Director, Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr University Bochum, Clemensstr. 17 – 19, 44789 Bochum, Germany


  5. I am trying to get my union to agree to a bursary for these courses. If these closures go ahead, when are they likely to happen as Ruskin College website is still offering enrolment for 2017/2018?

    There seems to be very little information available online regarding these closures, nobody in my union was aware. If it hasn’t already been done, is it worth writing to the unions for their support and to get the word out. It would be tragic to lose such a valuable resource.


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