The University is currently considering the possible closure of the School of Music once all current students have completed their degrees. Vice-Chancellor Edward Acton has commissed and accepted a report from a review panel of senior academics, and a recommendation will be put to the University’s governing council that UEA should stop offering music as an academic discipline.
Should a decision be made to close the School of Music, it would see a department ranked 12th in the country in the latest Guardian university league tables abolished due to the current economic climate surrounding British institutions, as well as the fear that in order to attract greater numbers of students to the music school resources may have to be diverted from other areas.
On the possibility of diverting funds from other disciplines to the School of Music, Acton said in a statement: “In a harsh and increasingly competitive and market-focused environment, that is a step that UEA cannot afford to take.
“What makes this position especially painful is the knowledge of the School’s fine achievements, the quality and passion of its staff under successive leaders and the pride and affection of cohorts of alumni.”
A statement was issued from the Union of UEA Students earlier today concerning the proposals. It said: “We are currently trying to find out what music students think about the potential closure of the school, we are asking that students email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Facebook or tweet us with their opinion. We would recommend students with individual concerns about this contact their Hub (in Arts) initially where they will be signposted to the best place to enquire.”
The recommendation will be presented to the University’s Senate on 9 November, and the final decision on the future of the School of Music will be made by the University Council, which is scheduled to meet on 28 November.
In terms of the situation current students in the school, Acton said: “Whatever Council may decide, we are determined to ensure that current students in the School are strongly supported and are able to complete their studies successfully. We also remain committed to music as a vital aspect of the social and cultural life of the University and to the continuation of the flourishing choirs and orchestras which are central to that work.”
In a post on the Union of UEA Students’ Facebook wall, a number of students registered their sadness at the potential closure of the school, calling the proposals an “outrage” and “unacceptable”, citing the recent successes of the School of Music and expressing shock and disappointment at the recommendation.