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AUS Tertiary Update Vol.3 No.23, 4 August 2000


Massey University Council members have been advised by Association of University Staff (AUS) lawyers that they will breach the Education Act 1989 and the university’s own internal statutes if they proceed making decisions about academic programmes without seeking the advice of the Academic Committee of the Academic Board.
However, Massey University Vice-Chancellor, Professor James McWha, has today said that having consulted the Academic Board, he is not obliged to take advice from any other quarter.
AUS Executive Director, Rob Crozier, said Professor McWha’s statement was consistent with the attitude of a chief executive running a private education company, but that it was astonishing that the Vice-Chancellor of a public university would ignore both legislation and Massey’s own internal rules.
“As the only Council employee, Professor McWha is charged with managing the affairs of the university within the policy framework set by Council,” said Mr Crozier. “These are set out in 4.2.1 of the Manual of Operating Procedures and Policies, approved in 1997.”
The text states:
All new courses and changes to existing courses must be submitted to the Academic Committee by Faculty and School Boards. Academic Committee will recommend/not recommend the proposals to Academic Board for approval.
All new academic developments, change of procedures relating to academic matters must have the support of Academic Committee before going to Academic Board. []
“Council members have been asked to think long and hard about the legal consequences of the decision that they are being asked to ratify tomorrow.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. TEAC Releases Its Initial Report
2. Massey Staff and Students March
3. TMU Will Consider Human Capital
4. AUS Women’s Conference
5. Computer Offer Extended

TEAC released its initial report and work plan for the next 12 months on Thursday 3 August. The report discusses a vision for New Zealand society and the role of tertiary education within it.
TEAC Chair, Dr Norman Kingsbury, says that a key message of the report is that the tertiary education system needs to develop an evolving and responsive strategic direction.
“This direction needs to be developed by those in the tertiary education system, in partnership with Government and those whose needs the system serves.”
The report is available from TEAC’s website:

Massey staff and students will march to show their opposition to the controversial ‘repositioning’ at Massey University Council’s meeting today (4 August).
A stop-work is being held this morning to convey how important it is to abandon this divisive restructuring. Albany members are also calling a stop-work meeting and will be linked via teleconference to the Council meeting.
“It is not too late for the University Council to recover from the damage that the 'DEpositioning' project has caused. We urge Council members to consider the legal situation, abandon the proposals before them, and join with their staff and students in a genuine 'repositioning' exercise,” said AUS Branch President, Associate Professor Lewis.

Associate Minister for Education (Tertiary), Steve Maharey, said the Tertiary Monitoring Unit would consider both human capital factors and capacity maintenance issues in examining solutions to Victoria’s financial difficulties.
He was responding to concerns raised by a delegation from Victoria University of Wellington (see AUS Tertiary Update, Vol.3 No.22) who met with him and Education Minister Trevor Mallard last week.
The delegation reviewed the ways in which successive changes to university funding over the past five years had seriously disadvantaged Victoria University financially.
Minister Maharey said that the university should continue in active detailed discussions with the Tertiary Monitoring Unit (TMU, formerly the Tertiary Ownership Monitoring Unit).
AUS National President Neville Blampied expressed concern that TMU would seek only accounting-type solutions. The Minister said, however, that TMU had clear instructions to consider the ‘people’ issues. TMU is briefing the Minister on a regular basis and ‘successful’ packages have been developed on a case-by-case basis to help other institutions (so far, all Polytechnics) in financial difficulty.
The AUS recommendation is that all VUW working parties highlight the human capital, institutional, and national capacity losses of any proposals made.

Former AUS member and current Minister of Labour, Hon Margaret Wilson will open the AUS Status of Women Committee (SWC) conference on gender issues in teaching, research and employment policies in New Zealand universities.
The conference is on Thursday 17 August in Wellington, with limited places available. There is no registration fee. Enquiries can be made to:, 04 915 6690.

Due to the later appearance of the AUS July ‘Bulletin’, a computer offer by IHUG has been extended, although specifications and price may have changed.

AUS Tertiary Update is produced weekly on Fridays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website:

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