Victorian College of the Arts Student Union
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The Victorian College of the Arts Student Union (VCASU) was the student union of the former Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), now known as the Faculty of VCA and Music (VCAM) in Melbourne, Australia. It was a separately incorporated organisation which represented the VCA student body. It had a strong history of creative student activism and successful political campaigns. VCASU's student newspaper was called Spark. VCASU officially went into voluntary liquidation on May 15, 2009 and shut down operations by 30th June, 2009.
The Melbourne Model
VCA became a faculty of the University of Melbourne (UoM) in 2007, which is in the stages of implementing the controversial Melbourne Model at UoM and VCA. VCASU argued the new changes were aimed at cutting university courses, staff and services which UoM Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis denied. Davis, the architect of the Melbourne Model had come under much criticism from staff and students alike.
UoM Provost Peter McPhee announced on the 22nd of April, 2008, that VCA's six separate schools of fine art, music, drama, dance, production and film and television would become three by 2009, effectively cutting the VCA in half. This contradicted one of the basic principal philosophies of the VCA originally outlined in a policy document presented to the Victoria Institute of Colleges in September 1974.
VCASU also argued that UoM were attempting to silence VCASU for its criticisms over the Melbourne Model in the wake of Voluntary student unionism introduced under the John Howard Government, by refusing to fund the organisation any further, which they foresaw forcing its closure. Despite this, VCASU achieved a 25% voluntary membership in 2007, with more than 50% of VCA students agreeing to join VCASU when enrolling online in both 2007 and 2008. Sue Pennicuik of the Greens raised concerns with the University of Melbourne Amendment Bill that prior to the amalgamation of VCA with the university, VCA students had their own student union which represented them in their particular way of studying, pointing out the difference between the practical way of studying the arts to how university students study.
In 1998, VCASU stopped the introduction of Up Front Fees at the VCA by staging a tent city on administration lawns. In 2003 VCASU led a militant campaign to reinstate VCA sessional staff which were to lose their jobs due to a "budget deficit" according to VCA Director Andrea Hull. In 2004, VCASU were involved in the student occupations at VCA, RMIT University and Monash University against the Howard Government's increased HECS fees. Also in 2004 VCASU protested against the then Federal Minister for Education, Brendan Nelson while visiting the VCA campus by dressing as Grim Reapers and labeling him the "Minister for Higher Execution". In 2008 VCASU accused UoM of forcing the closure of their union, a charge the university denies. The union was also involved in protesting academic staff cuts in 2008 by attempting to disrupt a UoM council meeting.
Proud was VCASU's annual acquisitive prize exhibition held for all VCASU members to participate. It had traditionally been held in the Margaret Lawrence Gallery at VCA. Beginning in 1996, Proud provided a launch pad for many of VCA's successful emerging artists, including Anastasia Klose, Van Thanh Rudd and Azlan McLennan. Previous Proud exhibitions included high profile arts industry judges such as Marcus Westbury and Patricia Piccinini.
- ^ VCA students' victory shows direct action works Socialist Alternative, Edition 70, September 2003. Accessed April 21, 2008.
- ^ VCA Student Union runs out of dough. Art Right Now, May 15, 2009. Accessed December 14, 2009.
- ^ Jobs under threat at Melbourne Uni The Age, March 30, 2008. Accessed April 22, 2008.
- ^ Bigger fees, overworked staff and cuts to courses: welcome to higher education in 2008 VCASU. Accessed May 21, 2008.
- ^ Academics face axe at top faculty The Age, July 11, 2007. Accessed April 22, 2008.
- ^ Students demand sacking of VC Green Left Weekly, Edition 719, July 27, 2007. Accessed April 22, 2008.
- ^ Arts college to follow US model Bridie Smith, The Age. April 23, 2008, p.4.
- ^ Creating the Victorian College of the Arts Joseph Pascoe, Macmillan Publishers, Melbourne, 2000, p.22.
- ^ Five reasons why YOU should join the campaign to stop Melbourne Uni from cutting staff and cutting your courses as part of its Melbourne Model VCASU. Accessed May 21, 2008.
- ^ The Impact of Voluntary Student Unionism on Services, Amenities and Representation for Australian University Students Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Accessed May 22, 2008.
- ^ Melbourne University Amendment Bill Victorian Greens, March 31, 2009. Accessed December 14, 2009.
- ^ Publications Orient Express, 2008. Accessed November 13, 2008.
- ^ Students gatecrash teachers' meeting The Age, July 22, 2003. Accessed November 13, 2008.
- ^ Students revolt against fees Green Left Weekly, Issue 577, March 31, 2004. Accessed November 13, 2008.
- ^ Students occupy against HECS fees, 2003 part 1 YouTube, May 4, 2008. Accessed November 13, 2008.
- ^ Students, police injured in Monash University fees protest The Age, March 26, 2003. Accessed November 13, 2008.
- ^ In The Thick Of It YouTube, February 5, 2007. Accessed November 13, 2008.
- ^ Uni student gag claim Melbourne Leader, August 6, 2008.
- ^ Students in protest raid over cuts to arts staff The Australian, May 13, 2008. Accessed December 18, 2009.
- ^ Anastasia Klose Art Info. Accessed April 23, 2008.
- ^ About the artist van-thanh-rudd.net. Accessed December 14, 2009.
- ^ Bio azlanmclennan.com. Accessed December 14, 2009.
- ^ Proud VCASU. Accessed April 23, 2008.