The proposal to close Victoria’s Film programme to create a Cinema Studies programme is receiving growing national media attention, as two protests and a forum with University management earlier in the month contesting the closure have so far appeared meaningless. The closure of Victoria’s film programme adds to the proposed closure of Canterbury’s Film Studies and American Studies programmes, causing growing alarm for staff, students and the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).
Liz Hawes, Co-President of NZUSA, says “in an age of internationalisation where the United States is a significant global player, the contribution of American Studies to academia is vital.”
“Film Studies at Victoria has an excellent reputation nationally and internationally for its programme, offering theory and practical courses. The potential loss of such programmes is nonsensical and would be a travesty”.
Among the points made by students at the forum, held on February 13, was the transparency of the proposal and the vagueness of Head of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Deborah Willis’s answers to their questions.
VUWSA Campaigns Officer Sonny Thomas said: “The University has not treated the students as the number one stakeholder… and that is the reason that [Willis] is being so defensive.”
VUWSA’s Acting President, Paul Brown added, “students are so angry because the process that’s been rammed down our throats is so shoddy. An open and transparent process which states the impacts on students and staff is ultimately what we want.”
Hawes described the proposals as “incredibly short-sighted” and “unjustifiable.” “They are an ominous sign of things to come – we’re left wondering who will be targeted next.”