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Value Wisdom Over Gold

"Our University Won't Be Sold / Value Wisdom Over Gold" was the chant from Victoria University staff and students today on a march through Wellington to protest against cuts to academic staff and courses. The chant referred to the University's motto 'Sapienta Magis Auro Desideranda Value Wisdom over Gold', a motto that VUWSA campaigns officer Nick Henry said had "been ignored by university management who are more interested in making a profit than providing quality education"

"However, this is our motto because we, the staff, students and graduates, are the University. We don't want to be 'consulted' then ignored; we want to be involved in making the decisions that affect us. We want an end to slash and burn cuts, and a return to the values of quality education," continued Henry.

In response to Government reassurances that the days of a competitive model for tertiary education were over, VUWSA president Chris Hipkins called on the government to "Show us the money" and start funding tertiary education adequately. "It's all very well for the Government to say that Victoria should be taking a long-term view, but they need to follow up their words with action," Hipkins said.

Mr. Hipkins also called on the University Council to take a greater interest in what was happening at a grass-roots level within the University. "The University Council simply can't continue to sit back and say these are management decisions, the Council can and must consider the implications of the decisions that management is making," Hipkins said.

Geology students, in cooperation with VUWSA and the Education Action Group organised the march and rally at Parliament today to protest against cuts to academic staff and programmes at Victoria University. The protest was supported by MPs from Labour, Alliance, and the Greens who spoke at the rally.

Students and staff assembled at the Victoria University quad at 12pm and marched through town to arrive at Parliament at 12:30. A coffin was carried along the route to symbolise the death of quality education at Victoria. At the rally, the crowd was addressed by MPs Marion Hobbs, Liz Gordon and Nandor Tanczos, all of whom emphasised the importance of Earth science for New Zealand and called on the University council to reconsider the cuts. Geology students, staff, VUWSA president Chris Hipkins, and Campaigns Officer Nick Henry also spoke. The Students then marched back up the terrace to the University and into the Hunter building, where the protest ended at 1:45.

Chris Hipkins President Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (Inc.) Te Ropu Tauira o te Kura Wananga o te Upoko o te Ika a Maui

+64 (4) 473 8566 VUWSA Office +64 (4) 499 7100 facsimile +64 (4) 384 6389 after hours +64 (021) 707 927 cellular

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