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Cuts to VUW schools 'unsustainable.'

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Staff at Victoria University are concerned that the University will not be able to sustain a projected $4 million cut from the operating budgets of its academic schools by the end of 2002.

"We appreciate the need for and desirability of the University achieving a budget surplus," said Association of University Staff branch spokesperson Guy Reynolds "but we don't believe the figure of $4M across the schools can be achieved without seriously undermining Victoria's academic reputation."

"We have already seen cuts over the last year in several of the schools and departments of the Science and Humanities faculties. Early retirements, redundancies, and a rigorous rationalisation of academic, technical and administrative functions in those faculties would suggest there is little or no 'fat' left to shed," said Mr Reynolds. "However, if the University is determined to reduce schools' costs by a further $4M to achieve its projected $3M surplus this will almost certainly result in the loss of around 50-70 jobs, probably including in some cases courses and whole programmes."

Mr Reynolds recognise that the combination of harsh government policies and declining student enrolments are to a certain extent forcing the University's hand. However, he says that it's "a bit rich of management to pronounce in their report on the deficit reduction project that the decisions will 'not involve a tradeoff between academic quality and revenue generation' when this is currently the proposed fate of the excellently performing Geology department and Antarctic Research Centre".

He said staff are "utterly dismayed" at the fate of Geology and the Antarctic Research Centre in the wake of the recently completed review of the School of Earth Sciences. "What hope can staff in the rest of the University have for their continued survival," said Mr Reynolds "if the consistently excellent teaching and research record of Geology staff, and the internationally admired work of the Antarctic Research Centre, can be so readily disregarded by a management who seem to conclude simply, 'You cost too much'".


Guy Reynolds
Association of University Staff -- Victoria Branch spokesperson
Phone: (04) 463 5690
Email: guy.reynolds@vuw.ac.nz

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