Campion College: Living up to the worthy ideals of a sainted namesake

Campion College: Living up to the worthy ideals of a sainted namesake, by Dyson Heydon, a former High Court judge. From a graduation ceremony of Sydney’s Campion College.

Campion College is approved as a registered Australian higher education institution by the NSW Department of Education and Training.

Yet it receives no funding or support from any level of government — unlike almost every other university and school in the country. … Almost every one of those universities is based on a single model. That model is a stereotype. It is uniform. It is monolithic. …

Unlike many of the universities based on the standard model, Campion does not:

  • Employ a vast bureaucracy that substantially exceeds its teaching staff in numbers, or pay such staff salaries reminiscent of sleek bankers — way above their deserts, and way above even the most able and internationally respected of the teaching staff.
  • Have a student population that mills about pointlessly and aimlessly, failing to find an enjoyable and fulfilling communal life.
  • Perpetrate cruel deceits on people from foreign lands who cannot speak English effectively by inducing them to enter Australia and undertake degrees that, if anything is to be gained from them, call for an excellent standard of English skill.
  • Relax the standards of assessment to ensure that those foreign students obtain at least a piece of paper, however worthless. …
  • Ensure that staff promotion can be achieved only by conducting useless research, by obtaining (as distinct from fruitfully spending) research grants, and by nauseating exercises in self-boosting.
  • Take great libraries that cultured and thoughtful academic staff assembled in earlier decades and destroy them by consigning their contents to landfill or worse.
  • Operate an institution at which there is little liberty to ­express views diverging from the current orthodoxy because dissent is seen as a moral failing — that is, as a meanspirited and insolent refusal to jump on the virtue bandwagon.
  • Instantly humiliate those few people who exercise even a small degree of liberty, and howl them down. …

A small institution such as Campion can help ensure the development of a pluralistic tradition, independently of mega-institutions emanating from and parasitic on the modern state. A small body can develop and preserve qualities that giants may have forgotten, or, if they ­remember them, may seek to ­destroy. That is especially so when a small body is independent of the state, uninfected by the state, and nourished by sources of which the state knows nothing.

hat-tip Stephen Neil