Save Social Sciences at UWA

Save Social Sciences at UWA

8,902 have signed. Let’s get to 10,000!
Petition to
The Hon Robert French and

Why this petition matters

This petition opposes the drastic cuts and organisational changes to the School of Social Sciences.

The proposal is to: 

1. Dismiss 16 staff, and reassign 12 staff from Teaching and Research to Teaching Focused;
2. Dissolve the Anthropology and Sociology discipline;
3. Effectively dissolve the Asian Studies discipline by removing its research expertise;
4. Significantly reduce research expertise in Media and Communications, Urban Planning, Political Science and International Relations.

We, the postgraduates of the School of Social Sciences and our supporters, are appalled at this proposal.  

The proposal directly targets for redundancy a significant proportion of the school’s highest performing, world-renowned researchers, including a professor who played a critical leadership role on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In so doing, it guts core research strengths of the School of Social Sciences, and therefore of the University. The School addresses some of the most urgent challenges of today, including international affairs critical to our region, public health, education and other areas of government policy. Anthropology and Sociology in particular has made a unique contribution to Indigenous affairs in Australia over the past fifty years. We consider the proposal to dissolve the discipline completely outrageous.

If passed, the proposal will decimate postgraduate education in the School, in both quality and scope. The School is home to some of the finest researchers in the world, and many of us chose to move to Perth from places across the globe to work with them. Through the proposed redundancies and reallocation of staff roles, we are losing 28 of our supervisors and mentors, and estimate at least 43% and up to 65% of the PhDs currently enrolled in the school will be severely impacted. We fundamentally disagree with the proposal’s implication that a robust and diverse education in the social sciences limits student employability. It reveals a profound lack of understanding of what higher degree social science research can offer society.

We are gravely concerned that the proposal overreaches in its decision to abolish a department without the consent of the Academic Board and Senate. The proposal was developed without consulting staff or postgraduates. 

We believe the proposed changes will undermine the reputation of the University of Western Australia as a world class institution of learning and research, and its ability to retain its status as one of the Top 100 universities in the world. There is a ten day consultation period until July 20th 2021. We therefore urge you to sign and widely share this petition asking the university to rescind the proposal.

For more information, visit We also welcome you to write in a statement to


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8,902 have signed. Let’s get to 10,000!