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The Savannah College of Art and Design will close its Hong Kong campus permanently.

The main entrance to the SCAD Hong Kong complex. Photo by Sasa 38300, via Wikimedia Commons.

The main entrance to the SCAD Hong Kong complex. Photo by Sasa 38300, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) Hong Kong campus announced earlier this week that it will be closing permanently as of June. This decision was met by protests from students who have been participating in online classes since February in light of COVID-19. The school has yet to provide a detailed reason for closing its program beyond “student safety and academic quality.” Students who don’t complete their degree by the June closure may be able to transfer to the school’s U.S. campus, so long as they are in “good standing.”

An online petition has garnered more than 2,600 signatures from SCAD Hong Kong’s students, alumni, and supporters. It reads in part:

On the 13th of March, we received an email informing us that the SCAD Hong Kong location would be closed after the spring 2020 quarter. This is the first time this information was communicated to us; there was no prior indication, discussion or warning that this would be the case. . . . We are greatly disappointed with the lack of communication between SCAD and us students, especially in regards to a decision that is life-changing and requires careful thought and planning.

According to ArtAsiaPacific, SCAD Hong Kong, a 10-year-old outpost of the private U.S. institution, has a $400-million financial deficit mainly due to low enrollment. The school is one of the many educational and cultural institutions impacted by the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic; Art Basel canceled its Hong Kong fair in early February with more postponements and cancellations being announced across the globe daily.

Further Reading: Ongoing Coverage of COVID-19’s Impact on the Art World