LINGUIST List 3.463

Thu 04 Jun 1992

Disc: Department Closures

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  1. "Jonathan Kaye 323-6362", SOAS closing - update
  2. John S. Coleman, Department Closures

Message 1: SOAS closing - update

Date: Tue, 02 Jun 92 12:27:34 BSSOAS closing - update
From: "Jonathan Kaye 323-6362" <>
Subject: SOAS closing - update

 2 June 1992

 Dear Friends,
 First of all, thanks to all of you. On behalf of our
 entire department we wish to express our appreciation for the
 overwhelming number of faxes, letters and email messages of
 support that we have received. It has done much to boost our
 morale and our colleagues from other departments have found
 your comments most enlightening.
 Because of our complex legal situation I am not at
 liberty to reveal much of what is going on. These constraints
 will certainly be lifted fairly soon and I will fill you in on
 the entire situation at that time. Briefly, we are still at
 risk. The administration is proceeding with the steps
 necessary to close down the department in October. I can give
 you some information that has not yet been widely publicised.
 (1) While the school is facing a budgetary "shortfall"
 there is no urgent financial crisis that would REQUIRE the
 administration to act as precipitously as it did.
 (2) The Administration has presented no evidence that
 closing the department will indeed have the effect of reducing
 the current deficit.
 (3) The ultimate motivations for these actions may not be
 primarily financial in nature; questions of Academic Freedom
 do enter into the current situation.
 Once again, thanks to you all for your support. I will be
 issuing further updates in the near future.

 Jonathan Kaye
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Message 2: Department Closures

Date: Wed, 27 May 92 12:05:13 EDDepartment Closures
From: John S. Coleman <>
Subject: Department Closures

These latest announcements have reminded me of an idea I once
had for protecting linguistics departments better. Will all
heads of departments, deans etc. please SERIOUSLY consider,
for the sake of the future of our discipline, changing
the name of any department of linguistics to department of
GRAMMAR. Not only would this be historically reasonable, but
it would, I believe, advance our public image many times over.
Nit-picking objections from colleagues whose specialisations lie
somewhat outside the ``core'' components of grammatical theory
should not oppose such a change of name if it protects their
career prospects!

After all, they wouldn't DARE to close down the GRAMMAR department,
would they? And aren't politicians always calling for a return to
the teaching of GRAMMAR? How could they possibly face the scandal of
closing down GRAMMAR departments?

This is a serious suggestion. It could be your department next!

--- John Coleman
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