The BPA wrote to Ohio University on the 13th May 2020 to protest against the University’s decision to not honour a number of contracts in the philosophy faculty. See a news item about it on Daily Nous here.

The letter was sent to Professor Nellis, the University’s President, and also to its Board of Trustees. In it, Professor Fiona Macpherson encouraged senior management at Ohio University to involve their faculty in all of their decision making and to honour their previous commitments to shared governance and transparency.. Professor Macpherson expressed concerns that Ohio’s planning around cuts appeared to fall heavily in the humanities, and particularly in philosophy.

On the 15th May, one of three colleagues in the philosophy department at risk was issued a letter of non-renewal.


The British Philosophical Association has today written to the Minister of State for Universities and the Secretary of State for Education to draw attention to the many important contributions made by philosophers at UK institutions during the pandemic so far.

Professor Fiona Macpherson,  President of the BPA, wrote to government ministers to describe many of the ways that professional philosophers have been involved in discussions and policy making with regards to COVID-19. The contributions made by UK philosophers are being collected in a growing repository on the BPA’s website here. In her letter, Prof Macpherson also offered the government the BPA’s varied professional expertise to assist with understanding and responding to the challenges ahead of us.

The letter was sent to Michelle Donelan MP, Minister of State for Universities, and Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education, as well as their opposite numbers in the Shadow cabinet: Emma Hardy MP, Shadow Minister for Further Education and Universities, and Rebecca Long Bailey MP, Shadow Education Secretary.  Copies were sent to those members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords who work with philosophical organisations and champion philosophical activities, including Baroness Onora O’Neill, Lord Melvin Bragg, Lord David Blunkett, Lord John Alderdice, Lord David Willetts, Jesse Norman MP and Barry Gardiner MP. In addition, the letter was sent to Prof Harcourt, AHRC Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation, and Prof Thompson, Executive Chair of the AHRC, to ensure that the major Research Council for funding academic research in philosophy is aware of the breadth of work that philosophers are providing during this crisis.

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