….THE real threat to the survival of universities is not deregulation or funding issues, but the virtual campus with lecturers sitting at ground control and students getting lost in cyber space.
It’s 1969. I’m studying science-engineering at Melbourne University on a campus electrified by radicalised politics. The student union quadrangle has the excitement and clutter of an exotic bizarre awash with Hare Krishnas, rock bands, flute playing hippies,
badge wearing Trotskyites and more.
With 38 contact hours, I was blessed to attend university, despite being the only girl in my course (thus unable to skip too many classes), at a time when campus life was rich and academic standards demanding.
Fast forward 40 plus years, I’m walking across the university campus on my way to the Faculty of Engineering alumni dinner. A few students, talking on mobile phones and wearing shoulder bags, rush past me toward the street. It’s early evening and tumbleweeds could roll through the union building quadrangle. The union looks like any other cafe in Melbourne at that hour. Floors are being swept. Chairs stacked. It’s closing down. I can hear football players shouting as they train on the university oval, but otherwise the student union is dead.
You can read more of this Edited Extract from MeLand: 10 Ways Self-Obsession Makes You Stupid, by Kerry Cue, Connor Court, $24.95, 2013 here: