Stirling uni bosses to axe ‘unique’ religion department

People are praying it’s not true

Religion religious studies Stirling Uni

Cut-throat uni chiefs will shut down the highly popular and ‘unique’ Religion department.

Respected religion think-tank Ekklesia reports it will close “with almost immediate effect” although no date has been confirmed.

Dozens of theology pupils and bright-eyed freshers fear their position is insecure with no concrete word on the future of the course.

A Stirling uni spokesperson said: “All current students of religious degree programmes and those starting their studies in September will be able to complete their studies.”

Despite this reassurance, top academics and students have responded angrily to news of the closure.

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Professor Jolyon Mitchell, President of Theology and Religious Studies UK, said: “We are very concerned by the news that discussions are taking place to bring about the removal of Religion at honours undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Stirling.”

Professor Mitchell said the Religion department at Stirling makes: “A vital contribution to international efforts to understand the role of religion in the contemporary world.”

Stirling Religion and Education student Robyn Burns told The Tab: “When I found out I was really upset and panicky. I had no idea what it meant for me – it was unclear as to whether I would be able to complete my course.

“The only information I had was that the religion course at Stirling was facing immediate closure so I feared the worst.”

Robyn, who is currently in her third year at Stirling, added: “I did not receive any official communication from the university authorities. I did speak to a few tutors who were very reassuring and supportive.

“It was made clear to me that they will be doing everything they can to save the course and make sure that myself and other students can complete our degrees.”

Robyn went on: “I don’t know what will happen to me if the department is closed immediately so I am really anxious.

“I have been reassured by some excellent tutors and it does give me some peace of mind but I think the university should be releasing some kind of official information to let the students know what’s going on.

“It is a huge loss. The staff in the religion department are excellent and the thought of them losing their jobs is awful.

“They encourage us to think about religion critically but without bias – the content of the course is really interesting and relevant.

“It is unique and I feel as though if the department in Stirling closed down there wouldn’t be an alternative.”

Karen Boyle has a PhD in Women's Studies.

Robyn’s thoughts were echoed on Twitter by former students as news of the department closure spread.

Jean Cameron said: “Really sad to hear news that Stirling University set to close pioneering religion department with immediate effect.”

Stirling graduate and Lecturer Angela Sutton said: “Very disappointing. Religion at Stirling University prepared me for grad school like nothing else.”

A source within the Religion department told The Tab: “Unfortunately, as the matter is on-going, members of the Religion teaching staff are not in a position to offer comment on any aspect of immediate or future provision.”

A Stirling Uni spokesperson said: “We are in discussions to secure a sustainable future for Religious Studies. All current students of religious degree programmes and those starting their studies in September will be able to complete their studies.”