Through an internal memo circulated this week, Deputy Vice Chancellor Tayyeb Shah announced that the University of Western Australia would be closing the doors on it’s publishing house which opened in 1935.
The memo cited a “progressive close down” of UWAP’s activities from the end of November this year.
The proposal stated that, the objective was to benefit the “strategic vision” of the University in providing “open and digitised access to information and knowledge in support of the University’s academic writing and research”.
UWAP produces a variety of local works ranging from scholarly sources to fiction and is widely known as being a cultural lifeblood of the local and nation-wide literary industry. This move would no doubt jeopardise careers in this sector.
The shut down would mean that all staff, including director Terri-Ann White, would lose their jobs.
Ms White stated to The Australian that the UWAP decision had shocked scholars, writers and readers in WA: “This is devastating, and we will be fighting back to make a case for the value of a university-based publishing house.”
This instance also follows on from the closing down of the University of Melbourne publishing house, Melbourne University Publishing which was prompted by a focus on scholarly writing rather than commercial publications. This decision prompted ” a mass resignation of the university’s board and its chief executive, Louise Adler“, which was described as “culturally damaging”.
According to the WA Division of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), there have also been uncertainties about the longevity of Unicare and the child care centre at UWA.
Pelican urges you to sign the petition to support UWAP staying open, which you can sign it here.
You can also contact Vice Chancellor Tayyeb Shah here, firstname.lastname@example.org
Words by Sophie Minissale