100 signatures reached
To: Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Sydney
Open letter: Academics and university staff say ‘Let SCA stay’!
We, the undersigned, are writing to express our support for students and staff in their campaign to save the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA).
We call on the University of Sydney to halt all job and course cuts, re-open enrolments into the BVA, and keep SCA open at Callan Park.
Why is this important?
According to the leaked University draft change proposal, jewellery, ceramics, and glassmaking will be scrapped, and 60 per cent of jobs will be cut. The University has closed enrolments for the Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA) for 2017, and is proposing to move all SCA students into ‘transitional’ spaces on the main campus. This threatens the future of the historic campus at Callan Park.
Arts, and arts education, are an invalueable part of any humane and progressive society. The University is not in financial trouble, as the recent construction of the $180m new Business Building attests. The University could fund SCA. Instead, they have decided to prioritise courses that can attract high enrolments, fees, and sponsorship.
The expertise and opinions of staff and students have been ignored as the University pursues a top-down managerial approach over a collegial one. In an affront to academic freedom, staff have been told they risk disciplinary procedures if they speak out for their jobs and their students.
Sadly, situations like this are too common in the higher education sector, where, in an environment of economic rationalisation, secure employment and educational quality are under threat.
It is heartening to see the protests and community opposition by students at SCA, and their determined occupation of the University administration building.
We believe that this is more than a fight for one art school, but a fight for the future of higher education.