more on royal ill-assorted collage

A letter! Forwarding …

Dear Colleagues

Writing letters to save palaeography

If you hesitated about whether to write in protest at the ‘strategic disinvestment’ at King’s College London which will lead to the abolition of the chair of Palaeography, with obvious consequences for the present encumbent, David Ganz, then please write now. There is still time (just), although it is very hard to know just when the real decisions are made, or what the chances are. I had a very courteous reply from Professor Palmowski, from which it was evident that he had read some of our letters, and that they are/were reviewing the position. There have been some very good letters. My *impression* is that the international protest is not being ignored, so even if you are skeptical about the chances, it is still worth trying. Trainor and Palmowski are both scholars of repute with a background in the Humanities, so you can write in any language (it may even increase the impact to have foreign languages, who can know?!). The collection of signatures is also going well, I was no. 1370 when I signed on this afternoon. There are two lists, the second very easy to access:
and [Ed. this one is indeed dead easy…]

Letters (in case you haven’t yet written) should be posted to:

Professor Rick Trainor,
The Principal,
King’s College,
The Strand,
London WC2R 2LS

and copy by email attachment to

Professor Jan Palmowski,
Head of the
School of Arts and Humanities

This email is just my private initiative, but I have had a lot of conversations over the last day or so and am aware that some people have been hesitating. My advice is to present arguments, from your own particular perspective, and to do so firmly and courteously, on the assumption that something might still be achieved.


Nigel F. Palmer, Professor of Medieval German, St Edmund Hall, Oxford OX1 4AR


  1. P.S. See further: Leiter Reports, “The full scope of the faculty firings at KCL” 2010-02-03. And, as “a college administrator” comments, “By the way, who posts a document labeled “Strictly Private and Confidential” on a public website?”… re. (c/o a previous comment) this information on the KCL website, as updated today (2010-02-05).
    There are currently two main letters in circulation, to which one may append one’s digital angry scrawl:

    Students at King’s College, London have drafted a very detailed ‘open’ letter to the KCL administration, and are now collecting signatures from concerned philosophers. Please consider adding your name. In addition, Jonathan Adler (Brooklyn) has created a separate on-line letter of protest, which is also available for signature.

    (c/o Leiter Reports)

  2. UPDATE: (Monday 8 February): whoopee, made it to the front page of the Guardian:
    • Post-graduates to replace professors
    • Staff poised to strike over proposals of cuts
    • Leeds staff vote to strike as redundancies look likely
    • ‘Gifted’ academics forced to reapply for positions
    Comment is Free, 5 Feb 2010: Antony Lerman: The deep cuts planned for universities are barbaric. We need a system based on scholarly freedom, not cost-benefit analysis … [classic / somewhat predictable discussion; inc. nice tangential twist re. UNINTERESTED VS. DISINTERESTED, correct usage thereof]

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