1,000 signatures reached
To: Ross Harley - Dean of UNSW Art & Design
Stand with Tess
Thanks to all of you, the university has received a great number of emails calling for Tess to remain employed. We ask that you continue to SIGN and SHARE this petition with as many people as possible. While we are being heard, we still need maximum leverage in the form of signatures for when we deliver this petition to the appropriate person later this month. In the meantime, we ask that you withhold from directly emailing UNSW. We will keep you updated if this changes.
It has recently come to our attention that UNSW Art & Design does not intend to renew the employment contract of Tess Allas. As many of you will know, Tess has been an integral part of the UNSW Art & Design community as both the Director of Indigenous Programs, and as a mentor to many Indigenous and CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) students for the last 15 years. We, as a part of the student body, are highly concerned by the proposed removal of Tess and write to you in hopes of your assistance to petition against this action, and keep Tess employed at UNSW Art and Design.
Why is this important?
The proposed redundancy of Tess comes at a time when she is more needed than ever. Recent changes, budget cuts and instability at Nura Gili Centre at the Kensington campus as well as the shockingly low employment of Indigenous (and, further CALD) staff at UNSW marks this as a part of a larger, ongoing issue at an institutional level that needs to be remedied rather than exacerbated. Diverse staff are crucial to not only the education of students but further, to their well-being. Tess remains one of the few staff members that Indigenous, CALD and other marginalised students feel they can turn to and rely on.
As well as her role as a mentor, Tess is also professionally and pedagogically a boon to the institution. Her course Aboriginal Art Now has influenced countless students and has led many to pursue further and higher research - academically, curatorially and artistically - in a more considered and critically rigorous way. In addition, Aboriginal Art Now remains one of the few Indigenous art courses available at UNSW Art & Design. She has also been instrumentally involved in a vast number of exhibitions in the Indigenous arts community in the last 30 years. The volumes of academic, artistic and curatorial output of Tess evidences her prolific reach and influence in the arts sector. As Associate Professor David Garneau suggested, her contribution to the arts sector deserves an honorary doctorate. Her removal would constitute a massive loss to the UNSW community, and the wider ripple on effects of this would be unimaginable.