Stu­dents’ ef­fort to save art his­tory pro­gramme in vain

Otago Daily Times - - DUNEDIN - ELENA MCPHEE

A LAST­DITCH ef­fort from stu­dents to save the art his­tory and vis­ual cul­ture pro­gramme, due to be dis­es­tab­lished in 2020, failed to find sup­port at a Uni­ver­sity of Otago coun­cil meet­ing this week.

The Otago Uni­ver­sity Stu­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion (OUSA) at­tempted to save the pro­gramme at a uni­ver­sity se­nate meet­ing last month, but its pro­ posal to keep the sub­ject as a mi­nor — which co­in­cided with a protest by stu­dents at the clock­tower — was voted down 32 votes to 31.

The orig­i­nal pro­posal to cut the pro­gramme found sup­port among the sen­a­tors. OUSA vowed to keep fight­ing to re­tain the pro­gramme, since de­ci­sions of the se­nate have to come be­fore the coun­cil to be rat­i­fied.

At Tues­day’s coun­cil meet­ing OUSA pres­i­dent and stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive Caitlin Bar­lowG­roome again made a case for keep­ing art his­tory and at­tempted to in­tro­duce a res­o­lu­tion to halt the pro­posal and in­ves­ti­gate mak­ing the sub­ject a mi­nor.

How­ever, Ms Bar­lowG­roome’s mo­tion failed when it was not sec­onded.

She said she was pointed’ by the re­sult.

‘‘The uni­ver­sity are dis­es­tab­lish­ing a course that means so

‘‘disap­ much to not only the stu­dents, but the greater com­mu­nity. In a way I feel as though they have also ig­nored con­cerns of aca­demics, con­sid­er­ing the close vote in se­nate.’’

Vice­chan­cel­lor Har­lene Hayne moved the pro­posal to dis­es­tab­lish the art his­tory pro­gramme, sec­onded by coun­cil­lor Martin Dip­pie.

All coun­cil­lors sup­ported the dis­es­tab­lish­ment of the pa­per apart from Ms Bar­low­Groome.

Hu­man­i­ties pro­vice chan­cel­lor Prof Tony Bal­lan­tyne said af­ter the meet­ing the de­ci­sion to cut art his­tory was not one the uni­ver­sity had taken lightly.

‘‘The uni­ver­sity needs to be able to re­spond to sus­tained shifts in pat­terns of stu­dent in­ter­est. ’’

Num­bers of stu­dents en­rolled in art his­tory at the uni­ver­sity have dropped from about 81 equiv­a­lent full­time stu­dents (Efts) in 2014 to about 19 this year.

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