By Tim E. Stewart
DARWIN — The campaign led by the Education Action Group (EAG) to reverse cuts to faculty funding at Northern Territory University won important ground last week.
At the NTU Council meeting on August 7, students won one third support for a motion to reinstate arts courses cut last semester.
The motion recommended that the vice-chancellor restore English literature, sculpture and ceramics in a manner acceptable to both staff and students. One of the "options" currently offered to continuing students is to participate in lectures and tutorials by video conference.
Those supporting the motion to reinstate arts funding included the student union president, student representatives and the general staff representative. Those against the motion included the NTEU representative, Jeannie Mason.
The council meeting was picketed by the Education Action Group, which received front-page publicity prior to the action in a local suburban newspaper.
The following day, EAG members targeted the NTU Open Day — an annual public relations fair. Activists hung a 10 metre black banner from the cafeteria balcony reading "Resurrect funding to the Arts Faculty".
Nearly 2000 glossy leaflets in black and white, titled "Welcome to NTU ... a students' perspective", were distributed widely amongst the show bags and hot dog stands.
The leaflet began "There's more to a good university than greenery and pretty buildings. A good university puts education before exteriors; a good university has sound academic programs, and respect for its staff and students."
After describing the decision to abolish English, sculpture and ceramics courses, the leaflet ended with a dictionary definition of the word facade: "the exterior front or face of a building; an imposing appearance concealing something inferior".