University’s social justice institute facing the axe

ACU vice-chancellor Greg Craven (ACU)

The Australian Catholic University may close down its Institute of Social Justice in Sydney, where students and academics now canvass questions of religion, secularism and human rights. Source: The Australian.

The National Tertiary Education Union confirmed it had received a copy of a “change management plan” for the Institute of Social Justice.

This “indicates the Institute will no longer exist by the end of October this year”, said NTEU branch president Sandra Miles.

She added that the consultation period had already ended.

A publicly funded institution, the Australian Catholic University “engages in the Catholic intellectual tradition where faith and reason are compatible in education, and knowledge is cultivated in an environment that fosters intellectual freedom, personal development and equity for all”, according to the university website.

Ms Miles said the ACU’s plans to close down the Institute for Social Justice were far-reaching in terms of staff employment, as well as financially unnecessary.

“We are not privy to information on whether all academic and professional staff have been redeployed, completed their contracts or (been) made redundant,” she said in a statement.

“However, the change plan was for all positions to be redundant with the institute closure.”

“The union’s ongoing position is that the university is in a sound financial position, whereby these funding cuts are not necessary and could be absorbed in order to continue the important research and work of this institute and other research centres.”

The institute covers eight research programs, according to its website, including “Aesthetics, politics, utopia”, “Beyond the Eurocentric frame”, “Feminist theory and intersectionality” and “Human, non-human relationship”.

ACU vice-chancellor Greg Craven is overseas on sabbatical and unavailable for comment, and no senior academics at the university were available to discuss the matter, a university spokeswoman said.

“Social justice and the common good are fundamental to the university and integrated in all its research priorities,” the spokeswoman added.

“We cannot comment any further about the proposal for change to any specific institute while it is under consideration, with the final decision to be made by the (university) senate.”


ACU may axe social justice institute (The Australian

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