Victorian government calls on university to reverse decision on MUP
Victorian minister for creative industries Martin Foley has called on the University of Melbourne to reverse its decision to overhaul Melbourne University Publishing (MUP).
In his speech at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, Foley addressed the recent controversy at MUP, in which CEO Louise Adler and four independent directors of the board resigned after the university proposed a new focus on scholarly publishing for the press.
Foley called on the university to ‘reconsider and reverse’ its position on the 97-year-old publishing house, so that it can continue its role as a ‘cultural leader, not a cultural handbrake’.
‘When this reorganisation decision is made by our oldest and most prestigious university, it can only be seen as disturbing,’ he said. ‘I use the chance I have tonight to call upon the University of Melbourne to reconsider and reverse its decision.’
The university’s changes would lead to fewer independent and vibrant voices, according to Foley, who said there was no reason the university couldn’t publish rigorous and quality academic works while also giving voice to controversial topics. ‘The university can surely walk and chew gum at the one time,’ he added.
Foley said ‘one of our most successful and independent publishers need not be endangered, and the diversity it brings to published voices needs to be continued.’ He said has sought assurance from the university that the reorganisation of MUP ‘will not result in fewer works that continue to raise difficult issues.’
‘The editorial independence of publishers needs to be as secure now as it was in 2018. I look forward to the university clarifying its position,’ he added.
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