Just days out from first-year Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) students beginning exams, University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) Dean of Science Professor Dianne Jolley sent out an email saying the course was to be discontinued.
In later emails, the faculty clarified its aim was to terminate the four-year Bachelor of Health Science (Traditional Chinese Medicine) degree and the Chinese Medicine Clinic program by the end of 2021.
Nearly 250 students and 23 staff would be affected by the decision, according to Honi Soit.
Management’s plan, however, suffered a blow when the faculty board voted against the proposal on July 26.
First-year TCM student Georgia Lloyd, who was present at the meeting, told Green Left Weekly the motion to discontinue the TCM degree was lost by one vote.
Lloyd said while Jolley acknowledged the vote, “she declared her intent to continue with the closure plan by reworking the proposal and coming back to the Faculty for another vote”.
The dean’s announcement has drawn significant opposition. An online petition to save the degree has already gathered almost 9000 signatures and 80 people attended a protest to save the degree and clinic on July 25 (during university semester break).
The TMC degree — one of only three offered in Australian universities — and clinic are popular, as TCM’s practices are being increasingly recognised internationally and used in global health institutions.
The clinic assists 6000 patients a year and is coordinated by registered TCM teachers who oversee the work of fourth year students.
Students practice acupuncture and dispense Chinese medicine to patients there for a fraction of the cost of other similar clinics.
[To assist the campaign to save the TCM degree and clinic call (02) 9514 2509.]