Staff, students oppose humanities school closure


On May 10, 60 people attended a public meeting opposing the closure of the humanities department of the Queensland University of Technology. The meeting was held at QUT's Kelvin Grove campus.

Staff and students voiced their anger at the university for the lack of consultation, and for what is seen as move to repress sections of the university that are critical of the way QUT is "doing business".

It wasn't until an April 21 article in Brisbane's Courier Mail that many staff and students at QUT found out that the school of humanities will be closed. Reasons given include "heavy financial losses in traditional arts courses".

One Kelvin Grove academic told Green Left Weekly: "When I received the email [from a student], I asked my colleagues what they knew about it. No one had heard anything. Then it was published the next day in the Courier Mail. We're very angry about the way this has been handled by the university."

Humanities lecturer Max Quanchi told the meeting that staff and students were "getting a raw deal" from QUT and that the school of humanities can produce data to counter every argument Vice-Chancellor Peter Coalrake has made justifying the closure.

Student activists Robert Nichols and Daniel Cabrera argued that the university's efforts to silence critics within the institution who are critical of QUT's neoliberal agenda have become increasingly brazen. In a single semester, QUT has had four students arrested for on-campus political organising; begun to close an entire school that promotes critical thinking; and moved to dismiss two QUT academics for criticising another academic's PhD work [see article this page].

A protest was held on May 11, with 150 students rallying at the university's Gardens Point campus. A protest at the Kelvin Grove campus outside a QUT council meeting is planned for May 16.