Sydney University backs down on Arts College

Issue 

The first round of the campaign to Save Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) has been won by students and staff.

Sydney University's Vice Chancellor Michael Spence sent an email to all SCA students on July 28 saying their plan to close the Rozelle campus and merge it with University of NSW was over.

However the victory is only partial. Management still wants to move SCA to the main campus, where there is very limited space for studios, exhibitions or jewellery or ceramic teaching facilities. Moreover, Sydney University has been refusing to take enrolments for the Bachelor of Visual Arts for 2017 while the move takes place.

A meeting of more than 100 students passed a motion of no confidence in Provost Stephen Garton and Dean of SCA Colin Rhodes. The meeting reiterated they wanted the Bachelor of Visual Arts reinstated for 2017 and they are not willing to move to the main campus. The meeting declared: “'Let SCA Stay' means we stay at Callan Park with our course resolutions, facilities and all staff except Colin Rhodes,” declared the meeting.

Garton addressed a staff meeting on July 29. He said: “We have to leave and go to main campus. The Rozelle site is not financially viable. We have a $5.5 million deficit and enrolments have been falling. We can't guarantee all the facilities will be taken onto main campus from this site, but we will maintain facilities at Rozelle for a couple of years in a transition phase.”

A staff member asked why the rush? Has the NSW government put pressure on Sydney University to move the College? Garton said: “There has been no pressure from the NSW government for us to close the Rozelle site.”

Students and staff unions are organising a rally on Sydney University on August 16 and some students are planning to head to Canberra for the first day of Parliament on August 30 to put our case to the Federal government. Find out more here.

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