Students at the Milperra campus of Western Sydney University are angry that they are being left in the dark about the university administration’s plans to close their campus and move it to the Bankstown CBD by 2021.
Students were only informed in late July that, from next year, many courses would be moved to a new high-rise building in Liverpool. This decision angered many students at Milperra as there will be no on campus car-parking available at high-rise Liverpool campus, there has been no confirmed student accommodation for the new campus and students from the university with a disability have voiced concerns about evacuation plans.
Daniele Fulvi, the postgraduate representative of the Bankstown Student Council and member of Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance told Green Left Weekly that as students and staff are the lifeblood of university “it is not acceptable that the management decided to shut down Bankstown campus without consulting us”.
“We were only informed a few months ago, when the move was already on and could not be stopped.
“This lack of democracy is intolerable,” he said, adding that the students wanted an apology from the Vice-Chancellor.
The students are also demanding that the university administration actively involve students and staff in such critical decisions regarding their learning environment.
“Students and staff must have input because without it the university is making the wrong decisions,” Fulvi said.
The cavalier attitude displayed by the administration could also mean that the move to Liverpool becomes a Trojan horse for course, staff and departmental cuts.
“Western Sydney University prides itself on, and indeed prolifically advertises, its ‘student centeredness’,” said Oliver Pocock, chair of the Bansktown SCC.
“But the university’s lack of response to genuine student concerns, show the ‘Board centeredness’ of the university business. “As the students who pay tuition fees to attend this university, these changes, and the lack of ongoing consultation with students, needs to be addressed.”
Students have sent a letter to Vice-Chancellor Barney Glover calling on him to respond to their concerns, in particular his failure to consult on Western Growth, the plan for new campuses in Liverpool and Bankstown CBD.
“We also need the Vice-Chancellor to commit the university to refrain from any staff cuts, course cuts or course amalgamations in the move from Bankstown to Liverpool”, Fulvi concluded.
[Phil Craig is a member of Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance and studies at the University of Western Sydney.]