University of Wollongong academics have welcomed news the Ramsay Foundation is in talks to sever ties with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.
National Tertiary Education Union branch president Georgine Clarsen said this showed people at the heart of the organisation shared their concerns about the "highly controversial ideological degree".
"There are significant number of people in that centre and foundation who do not like this use of Paul Ramsay's money in such an ideological way to put forward this particular degree," Associate Professor Clarsen said.
"There's people like Glyn Davis (Ramsay Foundation head), who'd rather see it go to medical research rather than to this highly ideological, highly suspect Bachelor of Western Civilisation degree."
Prof Clarsen spoke to the Mercury moments after a meeting with Professor Theo Farrell, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts at UOW.
Senior Professor Daniel Hutto, the director of the newly formed School of Liberal Arts, which will house the Ramsay Centre-funded Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation, was also at the meeting.
Prof Clarsen, senior lecturer in history Dr Jane Carey and senior politics lecturer Dr Marcelo Svirsky were also on hand to deliver an open letter to Prof Farrell and Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings.
The letter said "we the undersigned wish to register that we do not support the partnership that the university has entered into with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, including the fast-track process by which it was approved.
"We also wish to unequivocally state that we were not consulted about these negotiations and have had no input into the development of the proposed curriculum."
Prof Clarsen said almost 75 per cent of eligible staff in the faculty signed the letter.
"We collected 92 signatures for our letter in just four days. This demonstrates the level of opposition to UOW's partnership with the Ramsay Centre," she said.
A university spokesman noted the letter had been received but would not comment as "statements contained in the letter refer to matters that are currently the subject of legal proceedings".
"Out of respect for the court process, the university will refrain from making further comment in response to these claims at this time."
Dr Carey said the UOW's fast-tracking of the degree was reckless.
"Trying to have a whole degree in place in just over a year is reckless. Especially now that we know about the funding uncertainties," she said.
"The Ramsay Foundation itself understands the reputational damage of being associated with the Ramsay Centre in a way that this university refuses to acknowledge at all.
"Even beyond that we don't know that the money is actually guaranteed and we are still purporting to be able to offer this to students starting from next year. Reckless to say the least."
Dr Svirsky added the academics made it clear to Prof Farrell they opposed the degree and curriculum mainly because of its association with the Ramsay Centre.
"I told the meeting that we are bleeding anger and pain. This degree is an affront to our indigenous scholars, our indigenous colleagues and students.
"It is an affront to the indigenous communities in the illawarra and to all non-white communities in the university. We cannot accept this association."