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To: Australian National University

Keep Ramsay Centre out of ANU

VC Brian Schmidt announced on 1 June that the Ramsay Centre and associated Bachelor of Western Civilisation have been scrapped.

This group opposes the establishment of the proposed Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation at the ANU, as well as any other collaboration between the ANU and the Ramsay Centre of Western Civilisation.

Why is this important?

Background: The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation was established in March 2017. It’s funded by the $3 billion bequest of Australian businessman and top Liberal Party donor Paul Ramsay. The Ramsay Centre says it wants to “advance education by promoting studies and discussion associated with the establishment and development of Western civilisation.” Board member Kim Beazley also said the study of Western civilisation "needs a systematic voice" in Australian universities. In December last year, it was announced that ANU and the Ramsay Centre had opened negotiations about creating a degree.

Overview of the Degree: The proposed undergraduate degree, titled 'Bachelor of Western Civilisation,' would offer text-based courses for yearly cohorts of sixty students. Thirty students each year would receive $25,000/year scholarships. The proposed program comprises 16 core courses, typically taken over three years, which will cover “great texts,” art and architecture from Western civilisation. The degree will be ‘elite but not elitist’; the ATAR required for entry will be 97.

Negotiations are ongoing and both the Ramsay Centre and ANU have said academic independence will be respected. However, Ramsay Centre CEO Simon Haines has said they will review all course content, not hire teachers who have criticised Western civilisation and will withdraw funding if they think the course isn’t sufficiently pro-West.

Our Stance: We oppose the ANU’s collaboration with the Ramsay Centre based on the Centre’s ideological bias and its stated aim to teach only the positive aspects of Western civilisation. We do not think that such uncritical teaching should have a place at our university. We oppose the reductive premises on which the Ramsay Centre is based: the idea of a ‘West’ and the assumption of its superiority.


Reasons for signing

  • I am ashamed to be an ANU student when I see my institution proposing a course of study that is not only actively dissuading critical thinking, but is based on a false premise - the assumption of Western superiority.
  • I am worried about the ideological implications of any particular group effectively being able to purchase a degree at ANU. This is not conducive to te critical thinking that should be encouraged at the university, and flies in the face of the urgent need for greater decolonisation of the university to take place. Stay out Ramsay!
  • I graduated from ANU. Academic independence and critical thought is the cornerstone of a university. Of course achievements of western civilisation is a worthy topic of study, but the Ramsay Centre is approaching it from an ideological biased point of view hat has no place at an academic institution.


2018-06-01 16:59:37 +1000

Petition is successful with 82 signatures

2018-04-08 16:00:52 +1000

50 signatures reached

2018-04-07 07:00:02 +1000

25 signatures reached

2018-04-06 18:47:39 +1000

10 signatures reached