The proposal for Ramsay Civ Centre funded degrees at the University of Queensland are not going down a treat with all staff. Yesterday a meeting of National Tertiary Education Union members on campus rejected Ramsay representatives sitting on selection panels for university staff. The meeting also “overwhelmingly,” agreed on, “the need for UQ to uphold its commitments to equity, diversity, and inclusion, including commitments to action over reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations people, gender equity, and equal respect for persons of non-English-speaking backgrounds, and rejects the proposition that the stated objectives of advocates of the Ramsay Centre can be reconciled with these commitments.”
The meeting called on management to withdraw the expression of interest it has lodged with the Ramsay Centre.
This is pretty much in-line with staff discussions elsewhere at the university. Similar issues were addressed at an Academic Board meeting Monday and 250 staff have discussed the Ramsay deal at meetings in the humanities and social sciences faculty. In a note to HASS staff, executive dean Heather Zwicker reports the meetings discussed the same issues, notably, “why does the Ramsay Centre need a seat on hiring, if they respect institutional autonomy?”
Professor Zwicker adds whether, or on what terms the Ramsay Centre could have a role at the university, is “the most challenging issue of my career so far.”
“There is no question that the humanities need reinvestment. And we need to look outward: we need to engage our publics and excite our students by being more global, more Indigenous, more digital, more collaborative and more contemporary. We need humanities for the future. If we can get there with this gift, it will be transformational. The most difficult question of them all might be how.”
Last night a UoQ spokesperson responded to the union meeting; “The university has shared extensive information with staff and student representatives about the proposed Ramsay Centre partnership. This engagement process is providing valuable feedback. … So far, UQ has chosen not to make public comment during the engagement period to allow staff to freely express their views.”