School of Music to close, UEA council announces

The University of East Anglia is to close its School of Music.

November 28, 2011

The decision, announced today, was made on the basis of a review into the school’s future which said that continuing the subject was financially unsustainable and may put the continuation of other humanities subjects at UEA in jeopardy.

Richard Jewson, chair of the university council, said that the decision to close the school had given the council “no pleasure”.

“Council members believe that it would be irresponsible to ignore the danger signals highlighted by the review,” he said.

“The university cannot afford to continue to subsidise a school where the future prospects are so challenging, and this is the best way we can safeguard and strengthen other humanities subjects.”

Edward Acton, vice-chancellor of UEA, said that the “number one priority” would be the school’s current students.

“I would also like to underline our commitment to the continuation of music as an important social and cultural part of the life of the university and we will be announcing vigorous measures in the months to come,” he said.

A spirited campaign had been launched to try to save the school, and had attracted the support of notable figures such as Sir Nicholas Hytner, artistic director of the National Theatre, and musicians Jools Holland and Brian Eno.

In addition, the Royal Music Association and the National Association for Music in Higher Education had offered to conduct another review with a team of four senior academics from successful music departments.

The protestors staged a silent protest outside the council meeting this morning, and plans had been made to stage a rally in protest at the council’s decision later today.

Bill Vine, a PhD student in the school and the organiser of the Save UEA Music campaign, said that the group would take some time to consider their options, but he added that they would continue to protest against the decision and warned the university: “The gloves will come off.”

“I am disgusted and angry,” he said. “We arrived hopeful that the council would accept the extraordinarily generous offer from the RMA and the NAMHE, but clearly they had already made up their minds before they went in.

“One thing is for certain: we will not give up.”

sarah.cunnane@tsleducation.com

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