The vice-chancellor of Sydney University, Michael Spence, has revealed that a working group of senior academics had formed to help develop a proposed Western civilisation course, funded externally by the Ramsay Centre, before it is put to the university’s academic board for a vote.
The Conservative Party has been a strong critic of the ANU's rejection of the Ramsay Centre's place in Australian academia, and urged the now former Education minister to help find it a home at an Australian university.
The Australian reports, the move is expected to strengthen the vice-chancellor’s hand in negotiations within the university as it prepares a memorandum of understanding for discussions with the Ramsay Centre.
The final decision about the fate of the Ramsay Centre’s proposed course, which Dr Spence insists is being developed at the university without input from the Ramsay Centre on its educational nature, will be made by the academic board.
The board, made up largely of the university’s leadership group and student representatives, has the power to reject or amend any course of study.
Controversy has dogged attempts by the Ramsay Centre, whose board is chaired by former Prime Minister John Howard and includes former Prime Minister Tony Abbott among its eight members.
Earlier this year the Australian National University withdrew from negotiations, under pressure from student activists and leftists.
At the time, Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi blasted the University's decision on Sydney radio station 2GB.
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