SCA STUDENTS DEMAND ANSWERS: SCAR OPEN LETTER
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This letter has been sent and a response has been required by Monday 5pm, 4th July, 2016. Thank you for your support!!!!
To Michael Spence, Stephen Garton and Colin Rhodes,
We, as students of Sydney College of Arts, are writing in response to the letter sent from the Deputy Vice Chancellor on Tuesday 21st of June. This letter outlined the planned closure of SCA’s campus at Callan Park alongside a “merger” with the University of New South Wales. We consider this intention a breach of our student rights and a direct attack on visual arts education and the wider Arts community in general.
Sydney College of the Arts is one of Australia's leading contemporary art schools with a long cultural legacy of providing community, education and contributing significantly to the flourishing of visual arts in Australia. The conceptual, practice-led curriculum of SCA is core to the college’s identity and is foremost to its success. This education is inextricably linked with the Kirk-bride facilities. Central to this education are studio spaces, tuition by Australia’s pre-eminent practicing artists, access to a variety of unique facilities for art making as well as the foundation of specific studio-based practice.
If the proposed merger were to take place, students of both SCA and UNSW would have the unique nature of their education threatened, and this is detrimental both to the students, but also to the future direction of visual arts education in NSW.
SCA students have been misled and undermined through a lack of consultation. The scheme has been carried out with a blatant disregard of the student body, who had enrolled as artists with a very particular education in mind.
In light of recent developments regarding the proposed “merger” of SCA with UNSW as the Centre of Excellence, we demand clarification of the following issues that apparently brought on this change:
Regarding the financial losses of SCA:
The students demand transparent information regarding the deficit of the college. This includes the ‘space tax’ incurred, measured against the actual costs to the University.
Has the organisation of SCA itself run at a loss? And if so how?
Why was this loss not rectified by management under Colin Rhodes? Why was the current management retained if it was deemed unsuccessful?
Regarding the “merger” into the “Centre of Excellence”:
Why has SCA been the chosen art institution to be folded into another?
If the University of Sydney has deemed SCA unfit as a faculty, why have other options ensuring its existence not been entertained or discussed?
Is the University aware that both the teaching and studio facilities at SCA are unique and differ greatly from the system at UNSW?
Have the students been informed properly of these and other differences between the two institutions?
Have other universities been approached by Sydney University for a possible merger, allowing its own status to continue?
If so, which institutions? If not, why?
The SCA student body expects a detailed response by Monday 5pm, 4th July, 2016 to the concerns and questions above. A general reply avoiding all questions will display your lack of respect and we will not accept this as a legitimate response.
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