The dean of the faculty of arts at Sydney University is reviewing a memorandum of understanding to send to the Ramsay Centre over a controversial multi-million dollar course in Western civilisation.
That came after a statement by former prime minister, Tony Abbott, who is also a Ramsay Centre board member prompted another university to pull out of negotiations for the course.
It’s understood senior management at Sydney University has outlined its conditions for accepting the $25 million dollar course, which was rejected by the Australian National University earlier in the year on grounds the Ramsay Centre’s conditions would conflict with academic independence.
Mr Abbott had published an article saying the course was not “about” Western civilisation, it was “for” Western civilisation.
In an internal email to be published on Friday, the vice-chancellor of the university, Dr Michael Spence, said invitations have been extended to his colleagues in the disciplines most closely associated with the potential program in Western Civilisation — Art History, Classics and Ancient History, English, History, Philosophy.
He said the draft MOU would also be raised for discussion at the next Arts Faculty Board meeting
“In both instances, the intention is to support discussion – both dialogic and deliberative – of the principles at the heart of the draft MOU in order to give me feedback prior to my next engagement with the Ramsay Centre,” Dr Spence said.
The memorandum is expected to say the university will only accept the course if it has control over curriculum, reading list and academic appointments, all of which were also sticking points for ANU.
Some members of staff and students at Sydney University said the course should not be adopted on grounds of infringement of university independence.