AUS Tertiary Update
Seized Salient on Trade Me
The first copy of the student newspaper, Salient, “liberated” after Victoria University management seized the publication last week has been put up for auction on the internet auction site, Trade Me. It comes as the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association tries to recoup some of the $8,000 it lost in legal fees and advertising revenue trying to overturn the recent High Court injunction blocking its publication.
The dispute arose recently after Victoria University management became aware that Salient was about to publish leaked preliminary information, prepared by the Vice-Chancellor for the Council’s Finance Committee, indicating the University would be considering tuition-fee increases for next year of between 5 and 10 percent. Without telling the students, University management obtained an interim injunction in the High Court preventing Salient from being published. They then seized all 6,000 copies of the newspaper as they were being delivered from the printer, intending to hold on to them until the substantive injunction application was considered.
On the eve of the injunction hearing, the parties settled the matter, with the students returning the leaked papers, University management lifting the injunction and returning the confiscated issue of Salient and the parties issuing a statement saying that there would be no further media comment.
In putting the “liberated” copy of Salient on Trade Me, the newspaper staff say they hope that the auction will help demonstrate the strength with which New Zealanders believe in freedom of the press and transparency in public bodies. “This gesture will also underscore the lesson for any future organisations that would consider using a similar tactic,” it says.
The New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) says that the outcry from students and the public over the release of the confidential proposal to substantially increase tuition fees at Victoria University should be a lesson to other tertiary institution councils planning similar moves. “The situation at Victoria has proven that tertiary institutions are now willing to do almost anything to keep student fee-setting procedures away from public scrutiny, even to the extent of silencing students through the High Court,” said Andrew Kirton, NZUSA Co-President. “The huge increases proposed by Victoria University are shameful. While the institution argues that it can’t afford lower fees, we can assure it that students can not afford the increase. We would urge other tertiary institutions to think carefully before tabling similar proposals.”
Meanwhile, the Christchurch College of Education last night voted to seek permission from the Tertiary Education Commission to raise its fees by 10 percent, double that allowed under the current fee-maxima regulations.
The auction for the first “liberated” copy of Salient, complete with verification of its authenticity, can be found at:
in Tertiary Update this week
1. Salient’s troubles repeat history
2. New Zealand pay gap widens
3. Workforce review to enter second stage
4. Wananga distances itself from Treaty claim
5. Flying courses face legal wrangle
6. Cambridge tops international science rankings
7. Call for elite group of Russian universities
8. University unions demand pay boost
Salient’s troubles repeat history
Last week, Tertiary Update reported that it understood that the injunction and seizure of Salient was the first time ever in the publication’s history that such an action had been taken against the magazine. Not so, it seems. We are told that in 1940, the Principal of Victoria University College, Sir Thomas Hunter, following the intervention of Prime Minister Peter Fraser, ordered Salient to cease publication after it had published a short sketch critical of the army-recruitment process, and was about to follow up with commentary on freedom of expression. Salient was allowed to reappear several months later after editorial guidelines had been established. More details can be found in Stephen Hamilton’s A Radical Tradition: A History of the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association 1899-1999.
New Zealand pay gap widens
The pay gap between men and women in New Zealand has widened over the past year to June 2005, according to the latest New Zealand Income Survey. The latest Statistics New Zealand Quarterly Report shows that pay for full-time men went up by approximately 6.3 percent compared to 3.2 percent for women. Pay rates for part-time male workers increased by 8 percent, compared to 2.8 percent for women. The report shows that the gender pay gap has increased in the last year, with women earning, on average, 82 percent of the earnings of men, a drop from 86 percent in 2004.
AUS General Secretary, Helen Kelly, who is a member of the Government’s Pay Equity Task Force and Vice-President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, said that the widening of the gender pay gap is significant and of particular concern. “While workers may be pleased with the overall increase of 5.8 percent to wages and salaries since June 2004, these figures show that women did not get an equal share of those increases,” she said.
Figures being compiled by AUS reveal that women employed in universities currently earn, on average, 12.7 percent less than men, with the preliminary analysis showing that the gap is wider among academic staff. Data from one university reveal a $17,000 margin between the genders, consistent with the recent publication of research in the United Kingdom showing that the gender pay gap there ranges between 6 and 17 percent across all academic classifications.
Helen Kelly said that, while the Government has set up the Pay Equity Taskforce to address the pay gap in the state sector, the latest New Zealand figures reveal the need to extend that work to the private sector as a matter of high importance.
Workforce review to
enter second stage
The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has called for expressions of interest from organisations or individuals interested in managing the second phase of the Strategic Review of the Tertiary Education Workforce. The Review is intended to undertake a stocktake of the tertiary education workforce and current issues, advise on major workforce supply and demand trends over the next twenty years, and any mismatch and advise on a framework for describing and understanding future workforce requirements. It is also designed to analyse issues relating to the tertiary education workforce so that a more comprehensive and strategic approach can be taken to them.
The first phase, which was completed in July this year, was asked to advise on the scope and objectives for the second stage of the review, including proposals for the on-going involvement of stakeholders and the need for in-depth research. It proposed that the main research project would be a comprehensive survey of tertiary education staff and stakeholders designed to provide information in a wide number of areas, including key issues in recruitment and retention (salaries, career structures and working environments), workloads, the role of casual and part-time staff, skill shortages, barriers to workforce diversity, links with employers and the community and the effectiveness and availability of professional development.
It also proposed that other research could cover the aging of the workforce, the collection of qualitative data, improving annual staff-data collection and the sharing of best practice.
The second stage of the review will produce a report which will describe the capability of the tertiary-education workforce, identify potential directions for change, propose initiatives for the tertiary-education sector and recommend how these can be implemented and monitored. It is due to be completed by 30 June 2006.
Expressions of interest in managing the second stage are due with the TEC by 20 October 2005.
distances itself from Treaty claim
In a move which has been interpreted as distancing itself from the Aotearoa Institute, Te Wananga o Aotearoa Chair, Craig Coxhead, has issued a public statement saying that it is not a party to legal action being taken by the Institute alleging that the Government has breached its Treaty of Waitangi obligations in its dealings with the Wananga. The Aotearoa Institute, a charitable trust, is the former private training establishment from which Te Wananga o Aotearoa developed.
The Waitangi Tribunal is considering this afternoon whether or not to give urgency to a claim by the Institute that the Crown’s failure to honour an agreement to pay the Wananga $20 million due under a suspensory loan until it satisfies a requirement that it has a proportion of 80 percent Maori students is both illegal and racially divisive.
In his statement, Mr Coxhead says that the Wananga is not a party to the application for the urgent hearing, and that it remains in negotiation with the Crown on the issue.
Mr Coxhead says, however, that the Crown should make the suspensory loan available forthwith, and that the commitment given by the Wananga that eligibility for the loan be dependent on no less than 80 percent of the students at TWOA be Maori should be renegotiated.
In recent times, the Wananga has made a number of moves to try and avert a decision by the Minister of Education, Trevor Mallard, to remove the institution’s Council and replace it with a commissioner.
Flying courses face legal
Massey University is understood to be facing a multi-million-dollar legal and academic grievance case after concerns were raised about two of its aviation courses. The Aotearoa Student Press Association says the students’ claim could cost the university $4 million, based on a grievance report presented last month.
Heli-Flight New Zealand, which was contracted to provide practical flight training for the students, is also suing the University for $2.6 million in the Auckland High Court, alleging breach of contract on the grounds that the University’s School of Aviation has failed to deliver the academic components of its helicopter-flying courses, the Certificate in Aviation and Certificate in Advanced Aviation.
The certificate qualifies students as commercial helicopter pilots, and the advanced certificate enables them to become instructors.
Aviation School Manager Captain Ashok Poduval said he could not discuss the academic grievance report as it was confidential, but said the School would ensure none of the students was disadvantaged. “We have taken all the measures to ensure that this litigation (Heli-Flight lawsuit) will not disadvantage any students.”
Neither Poduval nor Heli-Flight Managing Director Andy McKay would comment on the legal proceedings.
Massey University spokeswoman Rachel Donald would not comment on the University’s subcontracting arrangement with Heli-Flight, or say whether the University would review the subcontracting of its courses.
The University was working on addressing the students’ concerns but Donald could not say if that would include fee refunds.
University management has not made staff aware of the complaint.
From the Sunday Star-Times
Cambridge tops international science rankings
Cambridge and Oxford Universities have topped a world-wide sample of research-active science academic institutions carried out for The Times Higher. For the second year running, the British universities have come first and second respectively in the peer review analysis, with American universities taking six of the next eight spots. The University of Auckland is the only New Zealand institution to make The Times Higher top one hundred rankings. At seventy-second it is up from ninety-ninth last year.
US universities, the University of California at Berkeley and Harvard University, are third and fourth respectively, swapping their last year’s ranking. The Australian National University takes thirteenth place, up from eighteenth last year.
The top universities for technology are led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California, Berkeley, followed by the Indian Institutes of Technology and Stanford. Again, the University of Auckland is the only New Zealand institution ranked; at forty-nine it is up from fifty-seven last year.
The data are the first part of The Times Higher World University Rankings 2005, which will appear throughout October, and are available through subscriber access at: http://www.thes.co.uk/statistics/
elite group of Russian universities
Russia needs an elite group of universities to maintain high standards as it moves to greater integration with Europe, according to Viktor Sadovichny, Rector of Moscow State University. Professor Sadovichny said Russia’s system of training specialists in five-year diploma programmes must be protected.
“Too many people talk about comparable standards [with Europe] and not enough about quality. The quality of higher education must not be compromised and we all know that the quality of education at a lot of Russian universities remains very high,” Professor Sadovichny said.
He said there was a need for a Russian “Russell Group” of top universities to ensure that the highest standards and best traditions were maintained. “We very much want to create an elite echelon of universities and, of course, there is a lot of talk about who would be in such a group,” Professor Sadovichny said. “Rather than a list of universities, we should probably talk about the educational standards these universities should meet. I think Moscow State can be included and perhaps could even be head of this group.”
Professor Sadovichny said he preferred not to name Russian Universities that might be included in such a grouping but, when pressed, said that Moscow State and St Petersburg universities regularly appeared on both Russian and international lists of the top-rated colleges.
From The Times Higher
University unions demand pay
British university unions AUT and NATHE met with their national university employers’ body this week to demand that promises by vice-chancellors to spend additional income on boosting staff pay would be honoured. The two unions, representing nearly 70,000 higher-education professionals, insisted that universities must now commit to improving pay in the sector.
The unions estimate that there will be an extra £3.5 billion in fees income coming into the sector in England alone by 2009, with increases in grant and other income also available in Scotland and Wales to compensate for their lack of top-up fees.
Speaking after the meeting, Sally Hunt, General Secretary of AUT, and Roger Klein, head of NATFHE’s Universities Department said that employers promised government that they would use extra money to make academic pay a priority. They told employers that they were prepared to negotiate on how the extra money promised to staff would be allocated, but that members would not accept them backtracking on their promise to boost pay. “We stated our availability to meet urgently with a view to avoiding a damaging dispute which would impact both on universities themselves and their students. In order to avoid conflict, all the employers have to do is honour their promise,” they said.
AUS Tertiary Update is compiled weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Association of University Staff and others. Back issues are available on the AUS website: www.aus.ac.nz . Direct enquires should be made to Marty Braithwaite, AUS Communications Officer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org