100 signatures reached
To: Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor, The University of Sydney
KEEP RAMSAY CENTRE OUT OF USYD
We strongly oppose the establishment of the proposed Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation at the University of Sydney, as well as any other collaboration between the University and the Ramsay Centre of Western Civilisation.
Why is this important?
The Ramsay Centre is a private body with $3 billion to establish a “Western Civilisation” arts degree at major universities, funded by a bequest from private health magnate and top Liberal Party donor Paul Ramsay.
The Ramsay Centre aims to give academic respectability to racist ideas under the guise of celebrating “Western Civilisation” and its supposed supremacy. Board members of the Ramsay Centre include hard right former Liberal Prime Ministers, John Howard and Tony Abbott. Speaking to the course content of the proposed Ramsay Centre, Abbott affirmed the Centre’s conservative and Eurocentric vision, emphasising “it’s not just about Western Civilisation but in favour of it”.
Structural discrimination will be introduced to the humanities with enormous resources, including $25,000 scholarships and small tutorial sizes, given to students who study “Western Civilisation” but not to students that study areas they deem inferior; those Abbott decries as “pervaded by Asian, Indigenous and sustainability perspectives”.
University staff have expressed well founded concerns regarding academic independence. 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.
Universities should be a place to challenge dominant ideas, institutions and systems - not a place where billionaires can buy influence over curriculum, staffing and pedagogy in order to pedal racism disguised as appreciation for “Western Culture”.
The University is selling control over its curriculum to the highest bidder and turning a blind eye to academic freedom and integrity to do so. We are strongly opposed to the University entering into any arrangement with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.