After the overwhelming public protests that forced NSW health bureaucrats to give the city’s major hospital back its status and name of Wagga Base Hospital, an attempt is being made from within Charles Sturt University to re-name it.
In a great load of waffle and palaver about “working on a refresh for our brand to ensure we speak clearly and consistently to our students, staff and members of the public” and “it’s important to evolve our brand to meet the needs of the market and ensure we can continue sustainable growth in our student numbers” a university advocate said it was expected a new name would be in place for the 30th anniversary of the university in July.
This so-called “refresh” is rubbish.
Great universities don’t change their name and Charles Sturt is of substantial reputation by regional standards.
Rather than allow this tosh to continue at the start of a new academic year and divert the real education and important work of all the university’s campuses, someone in authority should end this ridiculous proposition.
The university’s alumni has been quick to move and more than 2000 people have signed a petition to stop the name from being changed; the online petition stated, “changing the name … erodes the identity, tradition and history of the previous generations who have attended, studied and worked” at the university.
Already signatories against a name change have correctly pointed to the complete waste of money, at a time especially when conservative governments at federal and state level want to cut tertiary education funding, the name change would cost.
Two alternatives suggested are worth comment for their diversionary stupidity.
One, calling it Sturt University, thus removing Captain Charles Sturt’s first name was correctly described by another opponent as merely adding to the efforts of the airy-fairy change proponents “to demasculise society”.
Two, calling it Wiradjuri as a sign of reconciliation misses the point entirely that Captain Sturt, as Associate Professor Bruce Pennay, of Albury Campus, pointed out, was a noble person who did a lot of good for inland NSW and that’s where the uni’s major campuses are.
What should not be lost about Captain Sturt is that his personal and family motto was, “for the public good”, and that has been more than adequately achieved by so many of the faculties of Charles Sturt University.
More recently, in The SMH, Fiona Nash, strategic adviser for regional development at the university, confirmed the huge contribution regional universities made to the nation and, in particular, CSU as the largest of them all, which generated $619 million in gross regional product across northern, central and southern regions,.
DA letters correspondent, Gretchen Sleeman, who is never far off the mark with her assessments of local issues and matters, trained her sights squarely on the target when she wrote: “Attracting research funds from government and private industry depends on having a reputation that is worth something in the big scheme of things. Name changes are cosmetic, and in this case, pointless”.
There may well be greater scope to widen or improve the faculties offered by CSU but changing the name is not one of them.
Ensuring the quality and quantity of the personnel that has enabled its good scholarship to be continued is far more important.
As Michael Rob in the same letters column as Sleeman, wrote: “CSU is known around the world - why would you change the name?”
Indeed, why would you even contemplate doing so?
More than that, though, isn’t it time our burgeoning federal and state governments in Australia, and the once-great public service that created our wonderful public institutions dropped the obsession with what Sleeman pragmatically described as “promotional fodder”, a wonderful analysis of the unnecessary waste of time, people and resources that our cash-strapped public instrumentalities urgently require for the real deal?
To which might be added Prince Harry’s line from that astonishingly good speech to open the Invictus Games – “negativity is being entrenched around the world”; let’s get on with simply making things better.
Post Script: There was not much joy for Australian cricket in the first half of the summer except the joy of watching the best international team to visit our shores since the great West Indies teams; a team from India that was splendidly led on and off the field.
You can, however, capture what is good about Australian cricket by visiting the Museum of the Riverina’s wonderful exhibition, Wazza (Warren Smith) a Local Legend, a show piece of great Riverina cricketers and events, showing every day until February 17 at the historic Wagga council chambers.