By Charles Fedor
Sources have confirmed that in a closed-door and restricted meeting of the Academic Board this morning, the Chair of the Board Dr Raymond Da Silva Rosa ruled on the following:
“The proposal for a restructure of the School of Social Sciences will result in a substantive reshaping of the school, with certain academic disciplines discontinued and others changed in nature.
Without engaging with the merits of that proposal, the question is whether structural changes of this kind, which significantly impact the academic identity of the university, can appropriately be carried out without approval of (or at least consultation with) the Academic Board.”
The ruling came down in the negative, with the chair noting that changes with significant academic impact cannot be carried without the involvement of the Academic Board.
In this case, the chair noted that the elimination of a discipline falls under the category of a significant academic impact. Though the decision of eliminating a discipline is taken by the Senate, it is with the advice of the Academic Board. From my research, there has not been a time in which the Senate has made a decision in direct conflict with the Academic Board.
This is an important ruling because the public report did not mention the process or even the involvement of the Academic Board, instead mentioning that the Change Management Committee advised the Vice-Chancellor. This preserves the precedent established in October 2020, when the Vice-Chancellor sorted the dissolution of faculties. Chancellor Robert French noted, “there may be a question whether that provision is directed to administrative changes as distinct from academic programs and activities.”
It seems that the question will not be exploited by the Vice-Chancellor at this time. It is now up to students to put pressure on Academic Board members. A list has been provided here for your convenience.
This piece can only be provided to you through the hard work and courage of a number of sources across the university and community. If you have information that you think needs to be shared, please contact me via phone at (mobile removed). Your anonymity is guaranteed.