Dear friends and colleagues,
The Senator for Research and Health of the "Freie und Hansestadt" Hamburg plans to cut in half the number of faculty in the humanities departments of the University of Hamburg, which means a reduction of positions from presently 155 to 77,5 by the year 2012. Consequently many important disciplines will no longer be taught at this university and the remaining departments will not be able to provide an appropriate programme that meets international standards. At present the Department of History consists of 17 professors with roughly 3000 students, half of which are studying history as one of two major subjects. The Department of Philosophy comprises 7 professors, teaching 1200 students, with roughly 500 majoring in philosophy. Further cuts in faculty-positions would therefore be totally irresponsible.
The decision on the political level is based on a highly doubtful calculation by a commercial consulting firm of the prospective "demand" of jobs for graduates in different fields in Hamburg by the year 2012. Apart from the dubiousness of this calculation and of such a submission of the university’s output to the ‘demand of the job market’ the implementation of such a drastic reduction will mean the degradation of Hamburg University to provincial standards in the humanities. Because of Germany’s general fiscal problems it is to be feared that other states (Länder) of the Federal Republic will follow Hamburg’s example so that the humanities, and thus a prominent part of future education, are at risk. We would be very grateful if you could sign the attached resolution as part of an international protest against these plans and thereby help prevent the implementation of these incomprehensible plans. We would also be grateful if you could forward this message to all your colleagues and academic friends and any persons in the public area who might be interested in supporting the preservation of high standards in the humanities of the University of Hamburg. With many thanks for your cooperation. To our great consternation we hear that the Senate of the Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg intends to reduce the faculty of the departments of the humanities to half of its present number by the year 2012. If these plans are carried out the result would be an unprecedented decline of this important and distinguished metropolitan university and irreversible damage to its international reputation. Moreover, it would be an irretrievable loss for the humanities in Germany on the whole. Universities in other countries are proud of their departments in the humanities, and, despite the ubiquitous need to reduce costs, no American or British university, for example, would think of such drastic reductions in the humanities. We appeal to Hamburg’s Ruling Mayor, the Senate, and the responsible Senator to revise their ill-conceived plans and to do everything in their power to preserve both the existence and the excellence of the central departments of the humanities in the University of Hamburg.
The humanities departments of the University of Hamburg face the threat of unprecedented cuts which would seriously endanger their international
reputation (you find more information in the attachment). We would be grateful if you wish to support us. In this case, please sign theattached resolution and return it to
Also, you might wish to add yourself to our supporter database. To ensure this please go to
And please, pass this message on to other colleagues and friends.
Homepage www.rrz.uni-hamburg.de/Mittelalterforschung/Goetztext.htm oder http//www.phil-gesch.uni-hamburg.de/hist/hsperson/goetz1.html
Le département des sciences humaines de l'Université d'Hambourg est en grand danger, étant menacé d'être réduit de moitié à l'horizon 2012.
Jean-Marie Sansterre (directeur du département d'Histoire, Arts et Archéologie de l'ULB) en appelle à la solidarité de la communauté universitaire. Merci de bien vouloir faire suivre ce message aussi largement que possible, et bien entendu d'y répondre aussi vous-même !
Bien à vous,
Benoît Beyer de Ryke