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Massey University staff oppose honorary degree

Tuesday, 25 May

Massey University staff oppose honorary degree

The Massey University Branch of the Association of University Staff (AUS) has strongly criticised the decision of the Massey University Council to award an honorary doctorate degree to former Vice-Chancellor Professor James McWha at the Wellington graduation ceremony today.

"Professor McWha's term as Vice-Chancellor was an absolute disaster," said AUS Massey Branch President Harvey Jones. "The decision to award him an honorary degree reeks of cronyism and is a slap in the face to those staff that lost their jobs during his tenure, particularly as a result of restructuring in 2000."

Mr Jones said that the University Council members should be ashamed of themselves and their decision. He said that, during his period as Vice-Chancellor, Professor McWha was responsible for:

* a restructuring exercise in which many staff unnecessarily lost their jobs, and caused significant lowering of staff morale;
* a massive cost-overrun on the renovations to the Museum building on the Wellington campus.
* building the Rugby Institute, Athletics Track and Equestrian Centre on the basis of a public relations exercise rather than because of any academic merit.

"The University has decided to reward the architect of a flawed restructuring and its inevitable redundancies," Mr Jones said. "Instead of an honorary degree, the Council should call on Professor McWha to publicly acknowledge former staff who lost their jobs during his tenure.

"The Council is on the run with this award and they know it," said Mr Jones. "They have delayed its announcement and are presenting it in Wellington where there is less chance of protest."


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