Stop University of Copenhagen’s Plans to Shut Down Tibetology

Devastating news broke this week of the University of Copenhagen’s very unfortunate and misguided decision to shut down Tibetology. The move would bring to an end 1,200 years of Danish research of Tibetan cultures.

Across social media,I have seen many students and scholars of Tibetology express their sadness, shock, and anger about the University of Copenhagen’s plans, asking whether there is something we as a community can do to protest.

With permission I share the following message from Trine Brox, Associate Professor at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. In it she suggests some important ways in which we can influence the university’s decision.

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Dear colleagues and friends,

After my colleague Jan-Ulrich Sobisch was fired on Tuesday and we thereby learned that Tibetology will be discontinued at the University of Copenhagen, so many of you have written personal messages and entries on social media, asking what you can do to help. I am very moved by the concern and solidarity that you show us in these tremendously difficult times. I also know that your support means a lot to Jan-Ulrich. Thank you!

With the shocking dismissal of Jan-Ulrich, who has been at the University of Copenhagen since 2003, they seem to sacrifice Tibetology as a maneuver to show the politicians that the University does indeed try to cut the costs of higher education. There is no other reason to discontinue Tibetology and dismiss Jan-Ulrich – he has an impressive publication record, he attracts external funding, he is part of international research networks, and he has dedicated students. However, by sacrificing Jan-Ulrich, we lose an educational program and many decades of a Tibetology research tradition in Denmark that will be impossibly difficult to rebuild in the future. What they are doing now is a catastrophe and must be stopped!

There is, in fact, something you can do which might help us protest.

Jan-Ulrich has until February 23, 10 o’clock, to appeal the decision. Only afterwards will they announce the final decision. I hope that we can influence the final decisions making if the international community of Tibet scholars protests immediately. I would request you to write individual letters to the Rector and Director of the Board of the University. Please write a few words about your opinion to close down Tibetology here and about Jan-Ulrich as a scholar, so that we may impress them before they make their final decision.

Please be so kind to send me also an electronic copy, if you agree that we may use it to send it to the Minister of Education and in a further media campaign. I will also plaster copies of your letter on the wall outside of our Department Director’s office.

Dear colleagues, I know that I am impinging on your precious time, but I ask you nonetheless to please take a few minutes and contribute to our fight to reinstate Jan-Ulrich in his job and to save the long tradition of Tibetan Studies at Copenhagen University.

If you have any questions or other ideas, then please write to me, Trine Brox, at trinebrox@hum.ku.dk.

Please send your original letters of protest to

Chairman of the Board of the University Director Nils Strandberg Pedersen
and
Rector Professor Ralf Hemmingsen
Rector’s Office
Nørregade 10, PO Box 2177
DK-1017 Copenhagen K
Denmark

Thank you very much for your help.

Best regards,
Trine Brox

Associate Professor
Modern Tibetan Studies
Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
University of Copenhagen


 

p.s. It was also suggested that we consider writing Denmark’s Minister for Higher Education too. You can find him on Facebook or write him at:

Minister for Higher Education and Science Esben Lunde Larsen
Ministry of Higher Education and Science
PO Box 2135
DK-1015 Copenhagen K
Denmark

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