Staff at another university have rejected accepting a Ramsay Centre-funded degree in Western Civilisation.
Earlier this week National Tertiary Education Union members at the University of Queensland “overwhelmingly” rejected the controversial degree.
The degree created controversy earlier last year when the Australian National University pulled out of negotiations out of concerns about academic freedom.
Staff and students at the University of Wollongong also expressed their concerns last December when UOW became the first Australian university to sign a deal with the John Howard-headed centre to offer a Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation.
Two months on and UOW students, academics and staff were “still outraged about the secret deal”.
Wollongong Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) president Chloe Rafferty said students were determined to stop the Ramsay deal from going ahead.
The WUSA activists will team up with academics during O-Week to protest on February 28 and call on UOW’s University Council to tear up the Memorandum of Understanding with the controversial think-tank.
“Opposition and protests helped to pressure the ANU to abandon a similar deal,” Rafferty said.
Despite this widespread opposition, “UOW staff worked hard over the Christmas/New Year period in preparing to welcome students for the degree in 2020”.
A piece published on UOW’s website titled ‘Progress apace toward new western civilisation degree’, stated that the School of Liberal Arts had been formally established in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and Arts, with Senior Professor Dan Hutto appointed as Head of School.
Prof Hutto, who designed and will run the degree, “has consulted with eminent academics from world-leading universities, foundations and Liberal Arts Colleges while making refinements to the curriculum”.
He said the course would be philosophically-driven, with some subjects focusing on historical periods, such as the works of ancient Greeks, and others exploring wider, enduring philosophical questions.
“Nobody is going to tell me what to do in this course,” Prof Hutto told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law, Humanities and Arts, Professor Theo Farrell, has also directed the establishment of an independent advisory board for the new School of Liberal Arts.
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Inclusion & Outreach), Professor Paul Chandler is among the initial advisory board appointees.
“I look forward to him providing a vitally important indigenous perspective and connections with multiple indigenous communities as we move forward,” Prof Farrell said.
“The board will also be engaging other local indigenous representatives as required to assist Professor Chandler, further strengthening the school’s connections with indigenous communities.”