Trust is fundamental to human activities. How is it changing?
On a day-to-day basis, people put a lot of trust in others.
As I walk down a suburban street, I trust that a driver will follow the curve
of the road rather than drive straight into me. The driver trusts the engineers
who designed the car that it will not explode, at least not on purpose. Buying
an aspirin is premised on trusting the chemists and manufacturers that produced
When trust is betrayed, it is a major issue. When, last year in Australia, a few needles were discovered in strawberries and other fruit, it was national news. People normally assume that fruit purchased from a shop has not been tampered with.
Paedophilia in the churches was covered up for decades. When it was finally exposed, it destroyed a lot of trust in church leadership and the church as an institution.
knowledge is based on observation, experiment and theorising, but also relies
heavily on trust between scientists, who need to rely on each other to report
their findings truthfully. This helps explain the enormous condemnation of
scientific fraud, when scientists manipulate or fake their results.
In certain areas, public trust has plummeted in recent decades: trust in public institutions including government, corporations and the mass media. Opinion polls show large declines. In Australia, trust in financial institutions had been dropping due to scandals, and that was before the royal commission revealed widespread corruption. When people can’t trust their financial advisers, what should they do?
In order to ensure fairness and good practice, governments set up watchdog bodies such as ombudsmen, environmental protection authorities, anti-corruption commissions and auditor-generals. One of the casualties of the banking royal commission has been the credibility of financial watchdogs such as the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC). Rather than sniffing out bad practice, they were complacent. Whistleblowers reported problems, but ASIC ignored them. The message is that members of the public cannot rely on watchdog bodies to do their job.
Who can you
Rachel Botsman has written an insightful and engaging book titled Who Can You Trust? She argues that in human history there have been three types of trust.
local trust, based on personal experience in small communities. If someone you
know helps, or fails to help, in an hour of need, you can anticipate the same
thing in the future. Local trust is still relevant today, in families and
friendships. People learn who and when to trust through direct experience.
Next came institutional trust, in churches, militaries, governments, and professions such as medicine and engineering. People trusted those with greater authority to do the right thing. In the 1950s, high percentages of people in countries such as the US said they had a great deal of trust in their political leaders. However, institutional trust has taken a battering in recent decades.
“So why is trust in so many elite institutions collapsing at the same time? There are three key, somewhat overlapping, reasons: inequality of accountability (certain people are being punished for wrongdoing while others get a leave pass); twilight of elites and authority (the digital age is flattening hierarchies and eroding faith in experts and the rich and powerful); and segregated echo chambers (living in our cultural ghettoes and being deaf to other voices).” (p. 42)
Botsman writes about the rise of a third type of trust: distributed trust. People trust in systems that involve collective inputs, often anonymous.
Suppose you want to see a recently released film. If you
rely on local trust, you ask your friends what they thought of it. If you rely
on institutional trust, you see what the producers say about their own film:
read the advertisements. Or you can rely on distributed trust. For example, you
can look up the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and see what different film
critics have said about the film, see what audience members have said about the
film and see the average rating audiences have given the film.
If you take
into account audience ratings from IMDb, you are trusting in two things. First,
you’re assuming that audience members have given honest ratings, and that the
film’s promoters aren’t gaming the system. Second, you’re assuming that IMDb’s
method of collecting and reporting ratings is honest. After all, IMDb might be
getting payoffs from movie producers to alter audience ratings.
Botsman says distributed trust seems to be reliant on technology but, ultimately, human judgement may be required. Of course, people design systems, so it’s necessary to trust the designers. However, after a while, when systems seem to be working, people forget about the designers and trust the technology.
One of Botsman’s examples is the self-driving car. Developers have put a lot of effort into figuring out what will make passenger/drivers feel safe in such cars. This sounds challenging. It turns out that the main problem is not building trust, because after being in a self-driving car it seems quite safe. The problem is that drivers become too trusting. Botsman thinks her young children will never learn to drive because self-driving cars will become so common.
Botsman has a fascinating chapters on the darknet, a part of the Internet frequented by buyers and sellers of illegal goods, among other nefarious activities. Suppose you want to buy some illegal drugs. You scroll through the various sellers and select your choice. How can you be sure you’ll receive the drugs you ordered (rather than adulterated goods) or that the seller won’t just run off with your money and not deliver the drugs? Botsman describes the trust-building mechanisms on the darknet. They include a rating service, rather like Amazon’s, and an escrow process: your payment is held by a third party until you’re satisfied with the goods. These darknet trust-enablers aren’t perfect, but they compare favourably with regular services. It turns out that trust is vital even when illegal goods are being bought and sold, and that reliable systems for building and maintaining trust are possible.
a high-rise apartment building called the Opal Tower had to be evacuated after
cracks were found in the construction. Experts debated when it was safe for
residents to return to their units. Some commentators blamed the government’s
system for checking compliance to building codes. Could trust in builders be
improved by learning from the systems used on the darknet?
Botsman’s special interest is in the blockchain. You might
have heard about the electronic currency called bitcoin. Used for purchases
online, it can provide anonymity, yet embedded in the code is a complete record
of every transaction. Furthermore, this record can be made public and inspected
by anyone. It’s as if a bank published online every transaction, with amounts
and dates, but without identifying who made them.
Botsman says bitcoin is a sideshow. The real innovation is the blockchain, the record-keeping code that enables reliable transactions without a middleman, such as a bank, taking a cut. It sounds remarkable, but blockchain-based operations have pitfalls. Botsman describes some disasters. When a new currency system was set up, someone found a glitch in the code and drained $60 million from the currency fund, one third of the total. The programmers and founders of the system were called in to intervene, which they did, preventing the extraction of currency.
seems not quite ready to provide a totally reliable trust system, one not
reliant on human intervention. But lots of people are working to achieve this
goal, as Botsman revealingly describes.
For me, the value of Who Can You Trust? is in highlighting the role of trust in contemporary life, especially as trust in institutions declines drastically. It made me think in a different direction: political alternatives.
The political philosophy of anarchism is based on the idea of self-management: people collectively make the crucial decisions affecting their lives without systems of hierarchy, namely without governments, corporations or other systems of domination. The usual idea is that there are assemblies, for example of workers who decide how to organise their work and what to produce. Assemblies elect delegates for coordination by higher-level groups.
This model of self-management relies on two types of trust. The assemblies have to be small enough for dialogue in a meeting and thus rely on local trust. The delegate structure parallels distributed trust, as long as the delegates remain bound by their assemblies and acquire no independent power
Another model is demarchy, which also dispenses with governments and corporations. In a local community, decision-making is carried out by citizens panels, with maybe 12 to 24 members each, whose members are selected randomly from volunteers. There could be panels for transport, manufacturing, art, education and a host of other topics. In essence, all the issues addressed by governments today are divided according to topic and allocated to randomly selected groups of citizens.
they are randomly selected, panel members have no mandate, so their terms are
limited. For coordination, experienced panel members would be elected or
randomly chosen for higher-level panels.
Demarchy relies on local trust, especially on the panels, and on distributed trust, namely trust in the system itself. This distributed trust is similar to the trust we have today in the jury system for criminal justice, in which randomly selected citizens deliberate together and make judgements. People trust a randomly selected person, who has no personal stake in the outcome, more than they are likely to trust a lawyer or a politician.
Botsman’s analysis of trust and technology raises a fascinating option: what would it mean to combine distributed trust based on technology with the local/distributed trust in political systems like anarchism and demarchy?
In December 2018, a partnership was announced between the Ramsay Centre and the University of Wollongong. The university would establish a degree in Western Civilisation funded by the centre.
The new degree was immediately controversial. In the previous months, there had been considerable publicity about proposed Ramsay-funded degrees in Western civilisation at the Australian National University and the University of Sydney. At both universities, many staff were opposed to the degrees. The ANU proposal did not go ahead, while the Sydney proposal was still being debated. Given this background, opposition to the degree at Wollongong was not surprising.
My aim here is to give a perspective on the controversy over the Ramsay-funded Western civilisation degree, especially as it has been played out at the University of Wollongong (UOW). I write as an academic at the university without a strong stake in the new degree, because I am retired and the issues involved do not impinge greatly on my main research areas. However, a number of my immediate colleagues have very strong views, and I have benefited from hearing their arguments, as well as the views of proponents of the degree.
The next section gives a brief overview of the institutional context, which is useful for understanding both incentives and concerns associated with Ramsay funding. Following this is an introduction to the Ramsay Centre. Then I outline the major issues raised at the university: decision-making, the conservative connection, Western civilisation and equality of resourcing. The conclusion offers a few thoughts on the de-facto strategies of key players.
It would be possible to go into much greater depth. Relevant are issues concerning the aims of education, the funding of higher education, the impact of private funding and agendas, the question of Western civilisation and the role of political ideology. Others have more expertise on these and other issues, and I hope some of them will contribute to the discussion.
Australian university sector
Most Australian universities are funded by the federal
government, but the funding environment has become increasingly challenging. In
the 1980s, the government introduced tuition fees based on government
zero-interest loans paid back as part of income tax only when a student’s
income reached a moderate level. Introducing these fees provided universities a
sizeable income stream, but not a bonanza, because the government cut its
direct funding, while opening the gates to a massive expansion in student
numbers over the following decades.
The result was that academics were met with ever-increasing class sizes. The student-staff ratio dramatically increased, almost doubling in some fields. However, this wasn’t enough to fix the financial squeeze. University managements dealt with it in two main ways.
aggressively recruited international students, who had to pay substantial
tuition fees. International student fees were used to cross-subsidise other
operations. Eventually, this income became Australia’s third largest export
industry, after iron and coal.
teaching was increasingly carried out by “casual” staff, paid by the hour or on
short-term contracts. University teaching was casualised almost as much as the
fast food industry.
beginning in the 1980s, the government pushed universities and other higher
education institutions to amalgamate. Increased size, through amalgamations and
student recruitment, became a goal, augmented by setting up of additional
campuses in Australia and in other countries. Universities became big
businesses, with budgets of many hundreds of millions of dollars.
management at Australian universities, finances became a preoccupation. All
avenues for income are canvassed, though the options have been restricted
mainly to government funding, student fees and research grants. The other side
of the coin has been cost containment, including by increasing class sizes,
cutting staff numbers and, as mentioned, relying ever more on casual staff for
US, in Australia there is no tradition of private support for universities.
Gifts from alumni are welcome but are usually a tiny portion of income.
Philanthropy is not prominent.
It was in this context that the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation entered the picture. Paul Ramsay made a fortune in private healthcare, including buying and running numerous hospitals. He died in 2014, having bequeathed a portion of his estate to setting up university courses in Western civilisation, run with small classes in which students study great books, in the manner of a few other such courses in the US and elsewhere. The Ramsay Centre was set up to manage this bequest. In 2017, the Centre invited expressions of interest from Australian universities to receive funding to set up and run degrees in Western civilisation.
University of Wollongong was the first university to announce an agreement to
set up such a degree. From the point of view of university managers, this was
an attractive proposition. It would involve the largest ever injection of
private money into an Australian university to fund a humanities programme,
amounting to many tens of millions of dollars. It was enough to employ ten
academics and give scholarships to dozens of undergraduates.
Early in 2019, Professor Theo Farrell, executive dean of the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts at UOW, outlined the financial benefits of the arrangement in meetings held to discuss the new degree. The faculty was affected by a decline in the number of undergraduate students enrolling in arts degrees, a decline occurring across the state, not just at Wollongong. The Ramsay-funded degree would have both direct and spinoff benefits financially. The students undertaking the degree would have to take a major or a double degree at the university, most likely in the faculty, giving a boost to enrolments.
benefit was claimed: because the Ramsay-funded students had to have good results
in high school and because they were being paid, they were more likely than
other students to finish their degrees. If true, this would aid the faculty’s
overall retention rate, something the government would favour.
money would support the employment of ten academics and two professional staff.
One of the academics is Dan Hutto, senior professor of philosophy, appointed
head of the new School of Liberal Arts hosting the new degree. There are to be
nine newly hired academics, all of them philosophers. Though hired for
teaching, their relatively light teaching loads would free them up to do
research. Their presence potentially could turn UOW into a philosophy
powerhouse, beyond its current dynamism led by Hutto.
point of view of its advocates, the new degree thus brought great advantages to
the faculty and the university. It involved the injection of a large amount of
money with spinoff benefits for the rest of the faculty. And it would position
UOW as a prominent player internationally among great-books programmes and in
Acceptance of the degree was not straightforward. As soon as it was announced, academics and students expressed opposition. Here, I look at the grounds for opposition under several categories: decision-making, the conservative connection, Western civilisation and equality. In practice, these concerns are often mixed together.
Discussions between the centre and UOW were carried out in
secret. Only a few people at the university even knew negotiations were
occurring. Critics decried the secrecy.
officials said, in defence, that these sorts of negotiations are carried out
all the time, without any public announcement. Indeed, there are many examples
in which major developments have been announced as fait accompli. For example,
in November 2018 an announcement was made that the university had purchased colleges
There was no protest about this; indeed, few took any notice.
On the other hand, the Ramsay Centre was already controversial elsewhere, separately from Wollongong. As the Australian National University negotiated with the Ramsay Centre, there was considerable publicity, especially when university leaders decided against having a Western civilisation degree because of concerns about academic freedom. At the University of Sydney, major opposition emerged to a Ramsay-funded degree, with protests and much media coverage.
context, the secrecy at UOW seemed anomalous. It was true that university
management often proceeded on major initiatives without consultation with
academic staff, but this was not a typical case: it was already known to be
On the Ramsay Centre board are two prominent political conservatives: former prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott. For quite a few staff at UOW, the presence of Howard and Abbott tainted the Ramsay Centre and its funds.
explained by Farrell, the board of the Ramsay Centre has no input into what was
taught in the degree. Negotiations with the centre were with two academics that
it employed, Simon Haines and Stephen McInerney, not with the board.
One of the concerns expressed about the degree was that Ramsay Centre representatives would be members of the selection committees for the newly hired academics. For many academics, the idea of non-academic ideologues sitting on academic selection committees was anathema. Farrell countered by emphasising that members of the Ramsay Centre Board, such as Howard and Abbott, would have nothing to do with appointments. Only the Ramsay academics would be involved. A typical selection committee would have the two Ramsay academics, one outside academic, up to six UOW academics including Farrell as chair of the committee. Farrell said that it was not unusual for non-UOW figures to sit on selection committees. In other words, there were many precedents for the processes relating to the new degree.
noted that in his experience most selection committees operate by consensus,
not voting, but that if it came to a vote, UOW members had the numbers. In
response to a question about what the Ramsay academics would be looking for —
the worry being that they would want candidates aligned with particular
political positions — Farrell said that in his interactions so far with the
Ramsay academics, their main concern was that the appointees be good teachers.
meeting for faculty members about the new degree held on 11 February, Marcelo
Svirsky, senior lecturer in International Studies, raised a concern about the
reputational damage caused by the connection between Ramsay and the university.
Farrell said the university’s reputation internationally would be enhanced via
connections with Columbia University and other institutions with similar sorts
of degrees. Such connections were important given how difficult it was to build
affiliations with leading universities. Domestically, Farrell said that
information about the content of the UOW degree was gaining traction in the
media, counteracting earlier bad publicity about the proposed degrees at other
universities. He explicitly denied any risk to reputation.
It is fascinating to speculate what the response to the Ramsay money would have been had Howard and Abbott not been on the board. Many academics vehemently oppose the political positions of Howard and Abbott, making it difficult to accept any initiative associated with the two politicians. In the wider public, the involvement of Howard and Abbott mean the Ramsay Centre is inevitably caught up in the emotions associated with right-wing politics and the so-called culture wars.
be the same academic opposition to money coming from a centre linked to leading
figures from green or socialist politics? This can only be surmised, because if
a green-red twin of the Ramsay Centre were funding a degree, it would not be
called a degree in Western civilisation.
For academics in some sections of the humanities and social
sciences, “Western civilisation” is a term of opprobrium, not endearment. It is
useful to note that in several fields, critique is one of the standard tools:
accepted ideas, practices and institutions are subject to critical scrutiny,
often with assumptions and beliefs skewered. For example, in my field of
science and technology studies, challenges to ideas such as scientific progress
and “technology is neutral” are fundamental to much teaching and research. Yet,
in the wider public, conventional ideas about science, technology and progress
remain dominant. Therefore, teaching in the field necessarily involves
questioning conventional thinking.
For some, “Western civilisation” brings up images of Socrates, Michelangelo, Shakespeare and Einstein: great thinkers and creators from Europe. It also brings up images of parliamentary democracy, human rights and liberation from oppressive systems of domination. These are some of the positives of Western history and politics.
also a seamier side to Western history and politics. Colonialism and imperialism
sponsored by Western European states resulted in massive death, displacement
and enslavement of Indigenous peoples. In Australia, white settlement caused
death and the destruction of the culture of Aboriginal peoples.
As well as
the legacy of colonialism, the history of Europe has its own dark aspects, for
example the Crusades, the Inquisition, the horrors of the industrial revolution
and the Nazi genocide. A full account of Western cultures needs to address
their damaging as well as their uplifting sides.
While Western civilisation has been responsible for horrific deeds, these have been carried out with convenient rationales. Colonialism was seen by its defenders as part of a civilising mission, bringing enlightenment to savage peoples. Yet the aftermath of this mission continues to cause suffering. For example, in Rwanda, Belgian colonialists imposed the categories of Tutsi and Hutu on the population, helping lay the stage for the 1994 genocide. In Australia, poverty and incarceration of Aboriginal people are among the contemporary consequences of colonialism.
academics, it is imperative to challenge the glorified myth of the beneficence
of Western culture. It is part of the scholarly quest to attain insight into
what really happened, not just what is convenient to believe, and this often
involves pointing to the unsavoury aspects of history and politics that others
would rather ignore or downplay.
context, the very label “Western civilisation” is an insult to some scholars in
the area, because the term “civilisation” has positive connotations unlike, for
example, “Western barbarism.” For scholars, the label “Western civilisation”
suggests a focus only on one side of a complex and contentious past and legacy.
Hutto, in presenting the subjects to be taught in UOW’s Western civilisation degree, emphasised that about half of them involved studying texts from other cultures, including texts concerning Buddhism, Islam and Indigenous cultures. To fully understand Western culture, it is valuable to appreciate other cultures: a respectful dialogue provides more insights than concentrating on Western items alone.
some of the texts that Hutto proposed from Western writers offered critical perspectives
on Western societies. In these ways, Hutto distanced the degree from Abbott’s
claim that it would be for Western
instead positioning it as something different. In Hutto’s view, the degree uses
the study of great works of Western civilisation, in conversation with
non-Western traditions, as a way for students to develop their critical
capacities, using evidence and argument to back up their views. In short,
Hutto’s aim for the degree is that students learn how to think, not what to
think. Students are bound to be exposed to critical perspectives, including in
the major or degree they are required to take in addition to the one in Western
The degree as designed by Hutto might clash with the conceptions of some Ramsay Centre board members. It might also clash with the public perception, at least as informed by media coverage, that the degree would be one-sided advocacy for Western contributions. Intriguingly, if Howard or Abbott were to express reservations about UOW’s degree, this would temper the media and public perceptions of one-sidedness.
One of the
problems with the concept of Western civilisation is that, in the public
debate, it is seldom defined. Some critics might say that to talk of Western
civilisation is a category mistake, attributing a reality to an abstraction
whose meaning is contested. The variability of the meaning of “Western
civilisation” may lie behind some of the disputes over the degree carrying this
Ramsay’s large donation seems like a boon to a cash-strapped university, enabling the hiring of staff and the running of small classes that otherwise would be infeasible. On the other hand, UOW’s planned degree creates tensions between the privileged few and the rest.
The academics hired to teach the new degree would seem to have some extra benefits. In particular, they will be teaching small classes, of no more than ten students, of high-calibre students. In contrast, their colleagues, namely the rest of the academics in the faculty, are saddled with tutorial classes of 25, plus lectures sometimes with hundreds of students.
academics, this contrast is a source of considerable disquiet. Imagine someone
working in a field where offerings cover the same topics as proposed in the
Western civilisation degree. They might well say, “We have the expertise and
experience in the area. Why are we being squeezed while newcomers are given
generous conditions to teach the same topics from a philosophical perspective?”
been no formal response to questions of this type. One reply would be to say
that there are all sorts of inequalities between staff, only some of which are
related to merit. The most obvious inequality is between permanent and
non-permanent teachers. Some of the teachers on casual appointments are just as
qualified as those with continuing appointments. There are also inequalities
between academics, especially in research. For example, some researchers are
exempted from teaching on an official or de-facto basis.
tend to be highly sensitive to inequality in treatment, in part because
professional status is so highly valued. There are regular disputes about
workloads: seeing a colleague with a lighter teaching load can cause envy or
resentment. That a whole group of new academics seems to receive special
conditions can bring this sort of resentment to the fore.
students selected for scholarships to undertake the Western civilisation degree
have to satisfy several conditions. They must be Australian citizens or
permanent residents, young, recently completed high school and have obtained a
high score in the examinations at the end of high school. In other words,
mature-age students and international students are excluded from consideration.
Scholarship students will receive an annual stipend of $27,000, paid for up to
To some, the special privileges for scholarship students are unfair, especially the restriction to young Australian students. To this, a reply might be that inequalities between students are commonplace. The most obvious is between domestic and international students, the latter having to pay large tuition fees. Students on postgraduate scholarships are privileged too. This sometimes can be justified on merit, though the difference between students near the scholarship cut-off point may be tiny.
To appreciate the struggle over the Ramsay-Centre-funded degree in Western civilisation at the University of Wollongong, it is useful to think of the key players as using tactics to counter the moves of their opponents. Thinking this way is a convenience and does not imply that players actually think in terms of a strategic encounter.
proponents of the degree seem to be driven by two main considerations: the
availability of a large amount of private money to be injected into the
humanities, and the opportunity to build a world-class philosophy unit. To
acquire the Ramsay money and build the philosophy unit, it was useful to
counter likely sources of opposition, in particular the opposition of academics
in cognate units concerned about the ideological associations with the Ramsay
Centre and the concept of Western civilisation.
forestall the sort of rancorous public debate that occurred at the Australian
National University and Sydney University, which might scuttle the degree
before it was agreed, the degree proponents negotiated in secret. This did
indeed reduce public debate, but at the expense of a different source of
concern, the secrecy itself.
To counter concerns associated with the ideological associations with Ramsay and Western civilisation, Dan Hutto, designer of the degree, went to considerable effort to include in the core subjects respectful intellectual engagements with non-Western cultures, and to include negative as well as positive sides of Western culture.
opponents of the degree were not mollified. Some simply ignored the innovative
aspects of the subject offerings and assumed that any degree labelled “Western
civilisation” must be an apologia for Western colonialism. Other opponents,
though, focused on procedural matters, for example the fast-track approval of
the degree despite its possible risk to the university’s reputation.
One of the consequences of the degree is the introduction of a privileged stratum of staff, with much lighter teaching loads, and of students given scholarships to undertake the degree. For proponents of the degree, there is no easy way to address the associated staff and student inequality. However, this inequality has not played a significant role in the public debate. There are numerous other inequalities within universities, so perhaps the introduction of one more, despite its high profile, is not a likely trigger for public concern.
One of the
positive outcomes of the new degree is the debate it has stimulated. Hutto has
grasped the opportunity by planning to have the students discuss, in their
first week in the degree beginning in 2020, the debate about the degree itself.
For those so inclined, the new degree provides a golden opportunity to articulate
critiques of Western civilisation and make them available to staff and students
in the new School of Liberal Arts. Although Tony Abbott claimed that the
Ramsay-funded degrees would be for Western
civilisation, it is quite possible that many of the degree graduates will develop
a sophisticated understanding of Western civilisation. Perhaps, along the way,
members of the public will learn more about both the high and low aspects of
Paul Ramsay think of the furore over degrees in Western civilisation? Perhaps
he would be bemused that his bequest is receiving much more attention than he
ever sought for himself during his lifetime.
I thank the many individuals who have discussed the issues with me and who have offered comments on drafts.
 In the debate about Ramsay
Centre funding, Paul Ramsay and Ramsay Health Care have scarcely been
mentioned. Michael Wynne, a vigorous critic of corporate health care, developed
an extensive website with information about numerous heathcare corporations in
the US and Australia. While being critical of for-profit heathcare, Wynne has
relatively generous comments about Paul Ramsay himself and about Ramsay Health
Care, at least compared to other players in the corporate scene. See:
Wynne’s pages on Ramsay were last updated in 2005, but after this Paul Ramsay played a less direct role in Ramsay Health Care.
 I attended
meetings on 16 January and 11 February 2019 held for members of the Faculty of
Law, Humanities and the Arts. Theo Farrell and Dan Hutto told about plans for
the new degree and answered questions.
 Another factor,
specific to UOW, was the setting up of a Faculty of Social Sciences that,
despite its name, does not house the classic social sciences of sociology,
political science and economics. This faculty set up a social science degree
that is in direct competition with the arts degree, attracting students that
otherwise would have contributed to the budget for the Faculty of Law,
Humanities and the Arts.
 Andrew Herring, “University of Wollongong continues global expansion into Malaysia,” 19 November 2018, https://media.uow.edu.au/releases/UOW253448.html: The media release begins as follows: “The University of Wollongong (UOW) has continued its global expansion by acquiring the university colleges of Malaysian private education provider KDU from long-standing Malaysian investment company Paramount Corporation Berhad (PCB).
Subject to Malaysian Ministry of Education approval,
the deal will see UOW wholly-owned subsidiary, UOW Global Enterprises, immediately
acquire a substantive majority equity interest in the university colleges in
Kuala Lumpur and Penang—including the new campus under construction in Batu
 Tony Abbott, “Paul Ramsay’s vision for Australia,” Quadrant Online, 24 May 2018, https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2018/04/paul-ramsays-vision-australia/. Quite a few commentators blamed Abbott’s article for hindering acceptance of a Ramsay-funded degree at the Australian National University, e.g. Michael Galvin, “Abbott single-handedly destroys Ramsay Centre for Cheering On White People,” The Independent, 17 June 2018; Peter van Onselen, “Ramsay Centre has Tony Abbott to blame for ANU’s rejection,” The Australian, 9 June 2018. Note that the preposition for is contained in the full name of the centre: the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.
 Entry to the degree course is open to students of any age, and to five non-residents. The conditions mentioned apply only to those receiving Ramsay scholarships, and even then exceptions can be made. An ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) of 95 has been mentioned as an expectation for scholarship recipients. Other factors will be taken into account.