Many of you will have heard of the recent change plan being implemented by management at ACU that will cut more academic jobs. This is another in a long line of changes and redundancies that will affect many Humanities and Social Sciences scholars there – and in particular the disciplines of History, Philosophy, Politics, and Theology, and the closure of the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern History.
At the heart of this, the decisions of management at ACU are deeply damaging to the international reputation of Australian Universities, further undermine confidence in governance throughout the University sector, and affect many former staff and students of the University of Sydney.
The Australian Academy of the Humanities, along with many other cultural bodies and organisations have weighed in on the matter. As the AAH notes: “We are dismayed to learn of ACU’s decision to gut its disciplines of History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Pol. Science, and the entirety of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. While we respect the University’s autonomy in research and course provision, the ramifications will not only be felt by our humanities scholars, but incrementally these closures are impacting our national ability to understand and shape society. We are calling on the Government to implement the Accord recommendation for a Tertiary Education Commission, based on the principles of independence and expertise, and mandated to take a national view of how teaching and research programs are advancing Australia’s interests. Our humanists must be supported and valued in the same way we value scientists and technologists. Our Accord Submission: http://bit.ly/44RJsyz”
There have been thousands of job cuts in the academic sector since the pandemic, many of them in the Arts and Social Sciences. Students have begun openly asking why there are fewer options and where the support is for the Arts and Social Sciences. We cannot afford to lose more academic jobs in these areas if we are to sustain the mission and core business of our Universities, teaching and research across all areas.
Much of the history and detail of the cuts at ACU can be found in the four petitions below that you are welcome to review to inform yourselves of the situation. I have also pasted several newspaper articles about the latest round of proposed cuts.
If you would like to you could also contact the VC and/or senate at ACU at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. All those contacting the University have been told that no feedback to the change plans will be considered unless it is copied to email@example.com. Submissions must be in soon.
We call on ACU and other Unis thinking of implementing change plans first to implement independent reviews of financial records and budgeting particularly at the level of Faculties and above – these are non-profit and public institutions that need to put transparency and accountability first – and the preservation of the Arts and Social Sciences.
Should you have further concerns about the implications of this move for higher education, the Minister for Education can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and contact the Minister for Immigration Andrew Giles at email@example.com if you have concerns that there are immigration sponsorship and credibility implications of ‘disestablishing’ staff for whom ACU has secured Visas. If there are any queries about the financial situation at ACU, the Minister for Charities, Andrew Leigh, can be emailed at Andrew.Leigh.MP@aph.gov.au
Finally, we hope that our Faculty and Uni Leaders – many of whom are Fellows of the Australian Academy of Humanities – will join us in protesting these short-sighted cuts to the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
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