Daily Archives: May 8, 2007

Philistines no longer at the gates…

Academics, Hookham and MacLennan, threatened with the sack!

I have just received a paper from the National Tertiary Education Union [NTEU] about closure of the Humanities and Human Services School at Queensland University of Technology.

The letter states:

The argument that Creative Industries is the ‘new’ humanities is spurious – the programmes are important to QUT but are not intended to the breadth and depth of the (humanities degrees) BA & B.Soc Sci. Indeed, much of the argument about the ‘new’ revolves around the apparent audacity of comparing Shakespeare and Big Brother … the undergraduate degrees and the postgraduate research at Humanities and Human Services … is grappling with the complex human, social and ethical issues and uncertainties faced in science and bio-medicine, business, built environment, law and education.

Are students and staff aware of the attacks being made against two academics in Creative Industries at QUT, John Hookham and Gary MacLennan, who wrote a critical article ‘Philistines of relativism at the gates‘, about a PhD thesis called ‘Laughing at the Disabled: Creating comedy that Confronts, Offends and Entertains‘.

Their criticism of ‘Laughing at the Disabled …’ has been covered widely in the higher education supplement of the Murdoch newspaper, The Australian.

It is clear that, for some, there is a point at which we can tolerate no more.

Sadly, in these times, it seems it is difficult to coordinate this into collective action rather than individual revolt.

What collective action is to be organised by union members for John Hookham and Gary MacLennan, now charged under QUT Code of Conduct and apparently threatened with the sack?

It seems the philistines are no longer at the gates, they run the institutions and, as always, those who oppose them are to be arrested and shut outside.

Ian Curr,
May 2007

Protests and arrests at Gardens Point Campus as students demonstrate the closing of the School of Humanities and Human Services

Since this article was written there has been some support for the two academics, MacLennan and Hookham.

Also there has been the parallel action by the QUT to get rid of Humanities.

This has met with some resistance by the students and staff at QUT.

The university response to that resistance is shown in the video below.

The video is short and worth watching right to the end.

Congratulations to the student activists and filmaker for courage and determination ‘under fire’ from police and University authorities. We need to see more students standing up for a better education and making videos like this available on You Tube.

Ian Curr
July 2007