After much debate the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilization at the University of Queensland has been given the go ahead, UQ News has announced today.
The extended major in Western Civilization will be offered from 2020 after UQ’s Vice Chancellor Peter Høj, UQ Executive Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences Heather Zwicker and Ramsay Centre for Western Civilization CEO Professor Simon Haines signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which outlines how the program will be delivered and funded in the coming years.
The $50 million funding will allow the Humanities department offer a Major in Western Studies with smaller ‘Oxford style’ classes, 150 scholarships and 10 full time academic staff.
The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilization was funded by a $3 billion bequeath from the late health care magnate Paul Ramsay. It was formed with the purpose of reading “the great books” of the western tradition.
The board is chaired by former Prime Ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, with former Labor leader Kim Beazley also on board. The curriculum includes subjects such as ‘European Enlightenments’, ‘Shakespeare, Art and the Modern’, ‘The Critical Tradition’, ‘Icons of Western Art’, ‘Western Political Thought’ and ‘The Rule of Law’.
Many readers will recall how far-left groups vehemently opposed the introduction of the program since its proposal. Last year over 100 academics signed an open letter in opposition to the University of Sydney signing on to the program, They labelled the institute an outlet of ‘European supremacism’.
The University of Queensland now joins the University of Wollongong in resisting pressure from the far-left university establishment and activists in welcoming a Ramsay Centre on their campus.
Back in May, notorious far-left UQ Socialist Alternative spokesperson Priya De described the program as “racist” and claimed that the administration belonged to the “go back to where you came from” wing of the Liberal Party. Other opponents claimed that the program would aim to ‘whitewash’ Australian history. The Unshackled’s Associate Editor Lucas Rosas has written extensively about the extremist links of Priya here and here.
This memorandum is truly a much-needed victory in the fight to turn back the tide of the march of the far-left through the institutions in Australia. If our Universities are going to sign on to Confucius Institutes (which I have written about here, here and here) which aim to put forward the Chinese perspective, then our Universities should also offer an Australian perspective.
Universities must be places where differing perspectives can be explored, discussed, critiqued and assessed. The University of Queensland should be commended for pushing forward with the program despite the tantrums from the usual suspects.