Evans rebuffs music school supporters

AUSTRALIAN National University chancellor Gareth Evans has turned away School of Music supporters, saying the status quo is ” simply not an option”.

Prof Evans made the comment in a letter in reply to an open letter delivered to the Chancellor yesterday by School supporters, including Manning Clarke House director Dr Judith Crispin, MCH president Sebastian Clark, barrister John Purnell, composer Larry Sitsky,  historian Dr Ann Moyal, musician Gary France, artist Greer Versteeg, barrister Timothy Crispin and scientist Dr Andrew Glikson, who asked him to intercede for the School of Music and end proposed changes.

In Prof Evan’s reply he said: “As Chancellor, and acting on behalf of other Council members, I have been closely following this debate and discussing with the Vice-Chancellor all issues of concern that have been raised, and will continue to do so.

“I am acutely conscious that the School of Music is a fantastic resource not only for ANU, but for the Canberra community and indeed the whole nation, and that it is particularly important in this context that its performance teaching stream remains credible and viable.

“At the same time I think we all have to acknowledge that the present funding arrangements for music, and the huge deficits that are now associated with the existing course structure, are simply unsustainable, creating real pain for the wider University community. Continuation of the status quo is, unhappily, simply not an option.

“I remain hopeful that we can find a way through these difficulties, and have full confidence in the Vice-Chancellor’s capacity to do so in continuing close consultation with all relevant interests, inside and outside the University, and potential sources of further financial support.”

Vice-chancellor Ian Young has called a meeting with School of Music staff scheduled for this afternoon.

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6 Responses to “Evans rebuffs music school supporters”

  1. Peter Young
    May 25, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    Here’s some history which might be of some interest.

    In 1994 the Keating Government (Mr Evans being Foreign Minister) considered a proposal (which John Painter and others did a lot of work on) to provide significant federal funding to upgrade the School of Music to be a centre of national excellence in music training. The outcome, in the Creative Nation policy document, was to fund such a centre – but it would be a new one, in Melbourne, now called the Australian National Academy of Music. This change happened virtually at the last minute.

    The only apparent rationale for transplanting this proposal was that something needed to be funded in Melbourne because the Sydney Symphony Orchestra was to be given a special funding boost.

    And the consequences remain – ANAM until recently has had many chequered years and ownership issues of its own; and the SoM has struggled into the ANU orbit with the consequences we all see today.

    Interesting that Mr Evans was part of a government that took this decision in 1994 and now gets another go at it.

    • L. P. Berra, III
      May 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      I don’t understand the rationale. Why would funding something in Melbourne give the Sydney Symphony a special boost? Is the Sydney symphony in Melbourne?

  2. L. P. Berra, III
    May 25, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    “Qualitative and Quantitative Aspects of Equitable Resource Distribution” ?

  3. L. P. Berra, III
    May 25, 2012 at 5:39 am #

    …equitable distribution of resources is one of the big issues, yes?

  4. L. P. Berra, III
    May 25, 2012 at 5:26 am #

    It would be interesting to hear parallels drawn between issues in foreign relations and inter-departmental equilibrium of a university….

  5. L. P. Berra, III
    May 25, 2012 at 5:11 am #

    In our highly quantified world one very serious danger is confusing the ‘priceless’ with the ‘worthless.’ The highest values in our lives are firmly nonquantifiable, and attending to nonquantifiable values with quantitative reasoning is bound to yield skewed and unintended results such as the aforesaid dangerous confusion.

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