October 14, 2009
Univ. of Sheffield Keeps Biblical Studies Dept.
Students had protested an early proposal to shut the department down.
Following student protests, the University of Sheffield in England decided to not close the department of biblical studies.
A review by the pro-vice-chancellor had recommended shutting down the department down after current and 2009-2010 students completed their degrees, citing the loss of staff and declining student demand.
At 8 a.m. today, 1,064 members had joined the Facebook group "Don't shut down Biblical Studies at Sheffield" and a website was created to send the vice chancellor petition letters, several of which were posted on the website. Ben Hurrell, who created the Facebook group, told CT that citing the lack of student interest and staff was "unjust."
"The number of entries last year were capped at eight, but this year's graduates and level three students represent all-time high figures," Hurrell said in an e-mail. "While five senior lecturers have left over the last 2 years, the university has not allowed the department permanent staff to replace them for a variety of reasons."
The university senate was supposed to vote on the department's future on October 7, but after students heard through the students' union and protested, the decision was postponed.
"The vice chancellor has said that he feels the faculty handled consultation with staff and students so badly that it cannot justify a closure," Holly Taylor, education officer for the students' union, said in an e-mail this morning.
Taylor said that the the faculty will draw up plans for the department, including new staff appointments.
Collin Hansen contributed to this report. Another report will be forthcoming.