UNIVERSITY students say the slashing of courses at La Trobe’s Wodonga campus is the thin edge of the wedge.
Yesterday the university announced “structural changes” to the organisation that will effectively end the bachelor of arts degree on the Border.
Outraged students told The Border Mail they now faced a shift to Bendigo or Melbourne to continue with face-to-face lectures.
For those staying on the Border, the university is committed to providing online tutorials to complete their course.
Student representative for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Martin Dickens said students had been marginalised and alienated.
“They came out with this plan at the start of the semester break, avoiding much of the student backlash,” he said.
“The university asked for our input and in return we get a generic thank-you email, five weeks later, and no real change to their plans.
“It hasn’t been real consultation, frankly we have been ignored.”
Former King Valley girl Lisa Tuck will finish her degree this year but her plans to continue studying at Wodonga are now uncertain.
“I’m lucky, I can finish my majors here but the dream of continuing on, perhaps one day becoming a lecturer here is now in question,” she said.
“I think in some ways the future of the campus is in question — if they can do this to the arts they can do it to other faculties.”
Krystle Brown, 20, moved from Wagga for the only bachelor of arts course in the region.
“With these changes, to stay on this campus will mean online tuition and that is not what regional unis are all about,” she said.
“Otherwise the options are a move to Bendigo or Melbourne.
“I chose La Trobe because it was regional, I moved from Wagga to be at a regional campus — this will make it almost impossible to stay here.”
Max Humphries chose the arts course at the Wodonga campus to keep his options open, continue living on the Border, playing soccer for Albury Hotspurs.
“To move to Melbourne is so expensive — there is rent, finding a job, getting transport to get to uni and work, the access to lecturers,” he said.
Mr Dickens said the wider community should also be outraged.
“Parents of VCE and HSC students need to know what is going on, they need to be outraged, too,” he said.
“This is the thin edge of the wedge — they are facing the real prospect of a tertiary education by distance, not a university education.
“They are taking the face-to-face lecturers away from us.”