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Working out how to 'restructure' the ANU School of Music

I'm not surprised the Australian National University Council has backed Vice-Chancellor Ian Young in his bid to cut back funding to the School of Music. After all, the council unanimously supported Young's appointment after a ''four-month international search'' and Professor Gareth Evans said at the media conference on October 1, 2010, that ''Professor Young was the outstanding candidate in a stellar field''. At that same conference, Young said he had a key goal to build on the enormous quality of the institution, its staff and its students.

However, the article concerning the Manhattan School of Music's condemnation of the ANU plan to axe staff and funding for the ANU School of Music (''Name drop: Manhattan isolates ANU'', May 28, p1), together with the widespread community concern about the way the ANU's plan has been announced, suggests Young will need to demonstrate more leadership skills than simply making the ''tough'' unpopular decisions if he is to build and maintain effective partnerships with the federal government, the business community and leading universities around the world to maintain the quality of teaching at the School of Music.

Young may yet redeem himself, following his analysis of the extensive and passionate feedback he has received.

Mike Matthew, Holder

The ANU tells us not to worry, that after the ''restructuring'', School of Music students will have access via video-conferencing to experts at the Manhattan School of Music. News, apparently, to MSM, who say that the ANU is using their name ''without our permission and over our expressed objections'' (''Name drop: Manhattan isolates ANU'', May 28, p1).

Surely the only decent thing to do now is to scrap this whole ill-conceived proposal. What it all says about ANU management beggars belief.

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G. Jones, Torrens

Shift the ANU School of Music to the University of Canberra Campus and call it the '' The Conservatorium of Music''. To be funded by private business and the federal and ACT governments..

Robert Umberto Codnich, O'Connor

The Queen's role

The Diamond Queen on ABC TV continued with historical snippets and not a little triumphalism concerning the Queen and her family. One ''royal'', in extolling the Queen's importance, remarked that ''the buck stops with her'' - a new, or very old, interpretation of the British constitution? The series has been a public relations montage of extraordinary fulsomeness and Australia got a brief mention as a hesitant would-be-republic still (somewhat) devoted to Her Majesty. Anyone who doubts the determination of the British Royal Family to survive with most or all of its prerogatives intact should read Professor Anne Twomey's piece (''Her Majesty's Secret'', The Australian Financial Review, May 25 ) including the following: ''the Queen is politically engaged, interventionist, a master of the exercise of soft power and a sophisticated player of politics, who knows when to fight and when to withdraw''.

But all exchanges between the Queen and her Australian representatives remain secret, so we know little of her role in this country.

Peter Dawson, Hughes