Students and staff at the Sydney College of the Arts have rejected plans by the University of Sydney to shut down their campus. A “Let SCA Stay” campaign was initiated by more than 200 staff and students at a meeting on 24 June. Its central, non-negotiable demand is halting the campus closure.
The closure was announced by the university on 21 June. If it goes ahead, more than 600 students will be forced to study at University of New South Wales Art & Design, which lacks the specialised facilities of the SCA. The closure would also result in significant job losses, potentially leaving many postgraduates without supervisors and unable to continue their degrees.
University of Sydney provost Stephen Garton admits that the closure has been discussed for more than 18 months. During that time students and staff were kept in the dark. Enrolments continued to be taken, even though students would not be able to complete their degrees. If closed, the Callan Park campus would be handed over to the NSW Government, opening up the possibility of the inner-city site being sold to private developers.
A forum was held by management on 28 June. More than 200 students and staff took over the meeting. For 90 minutes Garton and SCA dean Colin Rhodes were grilled and confronted with stories, facts and outrage as they attempted to dodge questions and downplay concerns.
Students ejected Garton and Rhodes from the auditorium after they refused to agree to the campaign’s demand. A chorus of “SCA, here to stay!” accompanied their exit.
Students have vowed to escalate their campaign until plans for SCA’s closure are abandoned.
[To find out more, visit the Let SCA stay Facebook page.]