The Ramsay Western Civ Centre has invited the University of Queensland to express interest in a partnership. Last night the university told staff that it had agreed to, “explore compatibility and areas of mutual interest,” with the Centre.
Ramsay’s new move comes as management at the University of Sydney announces it will continue with staff consultation on a possible agreement, despite an arts and social sciences faulty board meeting on Monday where the mood on Ramsay ranged from appalled to ambivalent.
The University of Queensland is keen to keep initial discussions low-key, presumably to stop a repeat of the early and often outrage among staff at ANU and now at the University of Sydney. Last night UoQ management was advising, “only senior humanities and social sciences staff and key executives are having input at this preliminary stage.” The university adds it will “consult more widely with staff and students” if discussions proceed beyond the first stage.
However, management adds this stage is only exploratory, “any partnership would be contingent on agreement with UQ’s longstanding principles of institutional autonomy, intellectual freedom and independence – these are critical matters for the university.”
The university makes the case for considering a deal, which would deliver anticipated millions of dollars to fund teaching new degrees, on the grounds that, it could “strengthen our already highly regarded humanities curriculum, which encourages students to think historically and critically.”
Back in July the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union laid down its non-negotiables for agreeing to a Ramsay Centre on campus; ““any suggestion of surveillance of teaching or ideological monitoring of staff’s teaching or research is completely unacceptable and in violation of principles of academic freedom,” the union said (CMM July 26). This sounds like what management has specified – but sounding like and agreeing on detail might be different.