The decision by my amara mater Kingís College London to cut a large number of humanities post, including that of David Ganz, the Chair of Palaeography, has been making headlines all over the medievalist world. Iíve held off writing about this in the hope I might find about more of the details from KCL people I know, but it sounds like the situation is still very fluid, with a number of meetings taking place. The college is currently having a 90 day consultation period (which I understand is the statutory requirement). During this period, they have a duty to discuss ways of reducing the numbers of dismissals or mitigating the effects of these dismissals. Details of current proposals are now here.
All this means that there are still possibilities for getting changes and that it therefore makes sense for people to carry on contacting KCL and expressing their concern. The best option in the UK seems to be snail mail to Professor Rick Trainor, The Principal, Kingís College, The Strand, London WC2R 2LS (because theyíre likely to pay more attention to letters than e-mails). Iím getting my letter in the post tomorrow.
What Iíve focused on in my letter (and I hope will concentrate senior management minds) is that the consequences of this decision will hit KCL where it hurts. Its international reputation has already suffered, and a decision like this will make it less likely that medievalist research students want to come to KCL. I pointed out that my application to the AHRB for PhD funding had mentioned Davidís expertise as one of my reasons for choosing Kingís. I think David has been marked down by the college because he hasnít had many research students of his own, but this ignores how much informal help heís given to many of us who did our PhD at KCL. The decision also makes a nonsense of recent KCL attempts at growing its medievalist reputation (by increasing the number of medieval history lecturers to 5 from 4). It suggests a panic reaction more than strategic thinking, so maybe there will be a U-turn with enough pressure.
If I learn anything more solid Iíll report it, but given the global nature of the medievalist community, you may now hear details first from Utrecht or New York or Toronto.