The decline of western civilisation

Michael Spence is now in a win-win position as University of Sydney management considers a deal with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation – and the UniSydney VC has ANU to thank for it.

Yesterday ANU VC Brian Schmidt and Chancellor Gareth Evans  explained at length why they knocked back Ramsay-funded courses.  Slipping the cultural warriors’ tackles, they said their decision was based on Ramsay’s “extraordinarily prescriptive micro-management approach to the proposed program, unprecedented in our experience.” This only extends what Professor Schmidt had previously said but last night it appeared to have moved the discussion away from whether or not the Ramsay vision of western civ is suitable for study to university autonomy.

This is very good indeed for Dr Spence. If Ramsay wants a deal with UniSydney it will need to accept the vice chancellor’s terms on governance – which will go some way to address the concerns of the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (CMM Monday). This would not quieten critics of what the Ramsay Centre would teach, but Dr Spence could respond that the courses would be taught on the university’s terms.


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