The head of University of Wollongong's student union was denied entry to a University Council meeting set to discuss the controversial Ramsay Centre-funded Western Civilisation degree.
Wollongong Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) president Chloe Rafferty was slated to speak at the meeting on an unrelated matter.
But security stopped Rafferty from entering the administration building.
University management left it to a security guard to inform the WUSA president that she wasn't on the list as she hadn't "properly requested to attend".
Rafferty was denied entry despite submitting a 2000-word report about WUSA's budget to the Council and informed she could present the report at the April 12 meeting.
Moments earlier, Rafferty led a protest rally and march calling on UOW Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings to reject his "secret deal with the Ramsay Centre".
The Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation degree is scheduled to commence in 2020.
The Ramsay Centre will pay for 10 academics to teach the three-year program, and give 30 students each year more than $27,000 each towards their living expenses.
Amid a heated national debate about the Ramsay Centre's initiatives, UOW was the first university to strike a deal to offer the Western civilisation degree.
The university said it did not have concerns about academic freedom being compromised in the agreement.
But speaker after speaker at Friday's rally did.
"Defending academic freedom at our university is paramount," student Lily O'Sullivan said.
"The Ramsay Centre is an elitist think tank. This degree they are running is upholding the myth of western civilisation being better or more civilised than other civilisations. It is really disappointing."
He didn't expect that the name of the University of Wollongong would be dragged through the mud internationally. But in the space of four months we are international pariahs.UOW academic Rowan Cahill
UOW academic Rowan Cahill said he found it ironic and reprehensible that the "neo-liberal driven" university had struck such a deal in the middle of the night.
"It was three past midnight one December evening that I found out according to my email notification," Cahill said.
"It came when 70 per cent of casuals who kept this outfit going were filling their Centrelink forms, arranging childcare, pulling beer and stretching budgets.
"[Management] did this deal full well knowing those who could object were away. [Wellings] thought it was a fait accompli.
"He never expected staff and student resistance. He didn't expect that the name of the University of Wollongong would be dragged through the mud internationally.
"But in the space of four months we are international pariahs."