Dylan Griffiths & Liam Carrigan
Over the break USYD management sent an email to Sydney College of the Arts students announcing the signing of a Heads of Agreement with UNSW that proposed a ‘merger’ of SCA with UNSW Art and Design. With no guarantees for staff, studio space, curriculum and facilities this is no merger; it’s a closure!
The closure will see up to 3/4 academic staff, all of the technical and many admin staff sacked. It will sacrifice pedagogy for a surplus. Management attempt to calm students by promising that they will still be able to graduate with a Sydney University degree. But students know that it important thing isn’t the piece of paper you get ant the end of your degree but the education in the middle. All three-art schools are under threat by the merger, and so is the wider visual art community. As artist Ben Quilty put it ‘the cultural face of Australia has been punched’.
SCA students are angry and have started the LET SCA STAY campaign. Management has removed the Bachelor of Visual Arts from the 2017 UAC guide and the campaign demands that it is reinstated and the closure halted.
The campaign’s first open meeting attracted 200 people and continues to pull large numbers in the weekly campaign meetings. LET SCA STAY’s first action was to mobilize around managements student briefing, this was successful in sending a message that art students will not stand idly by while university management destroys their education. SCA students didn’t let the Provost, Stephen Garton get a word in before and proceeded to escort him and the dean of SCA off the campus in Rozelle.
This was followed by a rally to disrupt the University Senate. Hundreds of SCA students and activists marched from the quad to the business school where the meeting was taking place only to be met with the riot squad and denied entry.
The Archibald prize was usurped by a peaceful protest of SCA students outside the Gallery of NSW, who were extremely supportive of the protest.
Show Solidarity with SCA students and staff in the main quad on the 17th of August rallying against the proposed closure of SCA.
We also saw the return of the Liberal government, who want to deregulate fees, lower the HECS repayment threshold, and decrease government funding by more than $2 billion. The National Union of Students has called a National Day of Action against these cuts on the 24th of August, be there to defend your education!