Uproar over Murdoch Uni class move

Arran Morton
Murdoch University students stand united against plans to relocate degree programs to South Street.

Rockingham students are angry over a decision to relocate Murdoch University education degree programs to the much larger campus at South Street.

Second year student Tegan Greenaway said education students, many of whom had children in Rockingham schools, were outraged by last week's announcement.

The mother-of-two said class times accommodated school pick-up and drop-off times and she feared classes at South Street would be inflexible.

"Some students started just two months ago and they feel tricked," she said.

"Half of the students are parents and have to pick kids up from school.

"We don't understand why the university couldn't have made this change after we had graduated."

Rockingham student Jesse Weston said he spent $168 per year on fuel and parking, which he calculated would increase to $1360 when his course is relocated to South Street.

Murdoch University acting chief operations officer Steve Dixon said travel assistance of up to $500 per year would be made available for Rockingham students affected.

He said external alternative study options were also available.

"Obviously each student's circumstances are different - Rockingham and Mandurah students will have access to a number of support services and scholarships are available on a merit basis," he said.

"These decisions are never made lightly.

"There are not as many young people aged between 17 and 21, and 21 and 24, in the Rockingham area, so the demographic hasn't helped."

Chantelle Davis, a third year education student, said classmates were a tight-knit group, who worried about "starting all over again" at South Street.

First year students Jacob Keiman and Sam Webster said they were not sure they could continue with their courses, while mum-of-three Shakira Allen said she was facing increased costs in before and after-school care.

Mr Dixon said the university had tried to boost Rockingham student numbers, but the campus was not sustainable with just 178 students on grounds build for more than 2000.

He said the Rockingham campus would concentrate on enabling courses as pathways to degree programs at South Street and research.

"Education degrees on the whole across all WA universities grew by 22 per cent last year, while programs at Rockingham Campus have flatlined since 2006," he said.