Student Needs Must Come First
The needs of students must be paramount in any decision on the future of the Architecture and Design Building, Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association President Chris Hipkins said today. The Vivian Street property is on the market after the partnership between Victoria and Massey University (formerly Wellington Polytechnic) was terminated late last year.
“I am concerned that the University Management is looking purely at the financial gains that it could make from the sale of the building and isn't considering the implications such a sale could have on the quality of education provided,” Mr. Hipkins said.
“The Schools of Architecture and Design have operated very successfully from their present location for a number of years. They have forged strong relations with the architecture profession and are held in high regard internationally. We need to ensure that any changes made to will not place that in jeopardy,”
“When you consider the decision to sell the building in the context of other strategic decisions made by the University in recent years its hard to see any ‘method in the madness’. On the one hand we have just purchased a high-rise building in central Wellington that is completely inappropriate for University teaching and will cost millions to refit, and on the other hand we are looking at selling a purpose-built learning facility. It simply doesn't add up,” Mr. Hipkins said.
Mr. Hipkins also expressed concern about the lack of consultation with the staff and students that will be affected by the move. Staff we only informed the future of their building was being re-considered last week, and students were only informed officially this morning when Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Sharp attended a 300-strong meeting called to voice student concerns.
“The University rushed into purchasing Rutherford House, and so far it has proven to be a disaster. If we rush into a decision regarding the Architecture and Design Building that could well spell disaster too,” Mr. Hipkins concluded.