Students’ effort to save art history programme in vain
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.