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SCA Dean’s resignation the latest victory for Let SCA Stay campaign

Colin Rhodes ends his ten year tenure amid the ongoing occupation of his office and mounting pressure against SCA’s move from Callan Park

Colin Rhodes confronted by Let SCA Stay protestors at a meeting earlier this year. Colin Rhodes confronted by Let SCA Stay protestors at a meeting earlier this year. Photo: Liam Kesteven.
Photo: Liam Kesteven

Professor Colin Rhodes has stepped down as Dean of the Sydney College of the Arts amid mounting pressure from activists over the controversial move to relocate the college from its Rozelle Campus.
Rhodes held the position for over 10 years. For at least two of those years, he had been involved in discussions to relocate the campus.

Rhodes’ resignation as Dean meets one of the core demands of the Let SCA Stay campaign, whose occupation of the Dean’s office at Callan Park has now entered its 26th day.

Cecilia Castro, a Master of Fine Arts student and occupier, said “We’re happy with the news that [Rhodes is] gone. But now it leaves us with the question of how is the new dean going to be.”

Rhodes will be replaced by Professor Margaret Harris, who was Acting Dean of SCA from 2000-2002. Harris has previously served as Head of the Department of English and a fellow of the University Senate, the University’s peak management body.

The SRC’s Education Officers welcomed Rhodes’ resignation. “We continue our demand for an elected representative committee of staff and students to head SCA until they accept our demands and put art before the mindless pursuit of profit,” they said in a statement.

“We defeated the proposed merging with UNSW, and now have forced Colin Rhodes out. This development has only strengthened our determination to save SCA, every studio and every job.”

Vice-chancellor Michael Spence told a meeting of the University’s Academic board on Wednesday that Rhodes’ resignation was unrelated to the changes to SCA.

A final version of the draft change proposal which outlines plans to halve the number of SCA staff will be finalised on November 7.