Petition launched to save religion department at Stirling University

By Simon Barrow
August 26, 2015

The Universities and Colleges Union, along with our friends at the Critical Religion Association, the independent network of scholars with whom we collaborate, have created a petition through 38 Degrees to seek an end to threats of closure hanging over the world class Religion Department at the University of Stirling. You can read, sign and share it here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-religion-programme-at-stirli...

Ekklesia broke the story about the grim proposal to wind down specialist teaching and research about religion and belief at Stirling last week. The cause has attracted world-wide attention and concern. So far it has been picked up by the Herald newspaper, Research Fortnight, Ecumenical News, Scottish Catholic Observer, and secular groups, among other media.

We sincerely hope that senior management at the University will be persuaded to rethink and change their proposal. They have now started to talk about discussions concerning the "sustainability" of the religion programme at Stirling, and have acknowledged their legal obligation to existing students. However, this claim needs to be backed up by a withdrawal of severance notices to staff and the threat of imminent closure, followed by meaningful negotiations to secure the future of this vital work.

In a world where belief and ideology plays a major role in global politics (for both good and ill), it is vital to maintain and developinformed, independent and critical study of religion. The University of Stirling has a major, low-cost asset on its hands. It should be trumpeting its dedicated department rather than trying to axe it.

Please sign here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-religion-programme-at-stirli...

Also from Ekklesia on this issue:

* Response but no clarity on Stirling University religion department: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/22012

* University of Stirling to close pioneering religion department: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/22005

* Widespread dismay at university plans to end religion courses: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/22008

* Religion, higher education and critical thinking: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/22009

© Simon Barrow is co-director of the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.