One of the major changes included in the Business Improvement Program (BIP) is to relocate the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library (LHDML) to the VCA Southbank campus. There are fears that the amount of library staff could be also be reduced, in addition to the 540 job cuts announced in June.
Students have expressed their outrage at the relocation and have begun to take action. The Melbourne Graduate Music Society has created an online petition urging the BIP board to reconsider its proposed changes to the library. At the time of writing, the petition had gained 1,800 electronic signatures from undergraduates, graduates, and lecturers.
Students argue that the move could potentially damage the collections of scores, records, and manuscripts. They also argue it might be an inconvenience to the music students, as the main Conservatorium is located on the Parkville campus.
Acting Vice-Chancellor Margaret Sheil sent an email to all students detailing the proposed changes. According to the BIP, the changes are “designed to support academic performance across the University, and help improve the student experience at Melbourne”.
However many students believe this explanation is vague and contradictory to what is being planned for the library.
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) Masters of Musicology student Andrew Frampton expressed his opposition towards the plans for the Library on the petition website.
“The BIP states that it aims to enable academic performance and improve student experience, but destroying the integrity of the LHDML will do neither,” he said. “Rather, it will only prove detrimental to students, hinder the quality of teaching and research at the MCM, and severely compromise the future of musicology and music education in this country.”
Students are comparing the projected result of the library to Australian National University’s music program, which had major funding and job cuts in 2012. Almost half of ANU’s music teaching staff were cut, and the available music specialisations were limited in order to restore $1.3 million in deficit.