WSU Calls Cut on Media Production at Penrith

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By Michael Wright:

Students studying Media Arts Production and Design courses at Western Sydney University have been told they must move to Parramatta to continue studying in 2017.

The School of Humanities and Communications Arts will leave purpose built facilities on Werrington South campus at the end of Spring Semester, moving into retrofitted buildings at the University’s Parramatta South campus.

The Dean, Peter Hutchings, told students about the move in an email last Friday (August 26), since leaked to WSUP by students. Unconfirmed rumours circulated earlier in the year, when a number of technical and academic staff indicated they had heard about the move. This email, however, is the first official notice to students.

When asked by WSUP about student consultation and involvement in the decision, a Western Sydney University spokesperson said “It [the move] is in keeping with the long-term vision for the University’s academic programs, and the ongoing master planning for the University’s campus network”.

SRC Secretary Grant Murray said a lack of student consultation about major changes was symbolic of the university’s systemic problems. “The rebrand, One Parramatta Square, degree changes, the new science building and now Werrington South, all massive changes with lacklustre consultation”.

“University management does the bare minimum to tick a box saying they’ve told students, but don’t actually listen to us”.

Early rumours had suggested that the Design and Media Production facilities would move into heritage listed buildings at Parramatta South. The university has since confirmed to WSUP that this is not the case, and the new studios and editing suites will be in Building EA.

“Students will have the same access to purpose-built design facilities, digital video equipment and/or in-house production and editing studios as are currently provided at the Werrington South campus” said a university spokesperson.

Matt Womsley, a second year Bachelor of Communication student told WSUP “the University is putting profit before education”.

“Instead of waiting, the Uni believes that moving everyone at once will be beneficial to their bottom line. I personally hate the idea, as [moving campuses] will affect the learning opportunities that we have as current students”.

Other students took to Facebook to question the school’s motives.

“We [Media Arts students] get the massive raw end of the deal” said Jess Armbrust, a current student. “At Parramatta, the traffic is crap, and parking is impossible”.

Several academics have told their classes that they shared this sentiment. Many staff and students live in Penrith or the Blue Mountains, meaning that the move significantly disadvantages them.

The university will be holding a Q&A session in the coming weeks to inform students about the details of the change. More information can be found at westernsydney.edu.au/hca/parramatta_relocation

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