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AUS Tertiary Update

Gender pay gap reinforced in university statistics
Women employed in universities are paid significantly less than their male counterparts, and are more likely to be appointed to lower-grade positions, and to be engaged on fixed-term employment agreements, according to information compiled by the Association of University Staff.
Figures obtained by AUS under an Official Information Act request show that the mean salary of women employed in New Zealand universities is, on average, $52,608, that is $7,660 less than that of their male counterparts who earn $60,268. The widest margin, of $17,757, is at the University of Canterbury, where women earn $51,027 compared to $68,784 for men. Massey University has the next widest margin, of $15,513, with women earning $50,642 and men $66,155. The smallest differential is at the University of Auckland, where the gap is $732. The University of Otago failed to provide figures.
The gender pay gap at universities reflects current national statistics for the entire New Zealand workforce, with Statistics New Zealand reporting that women, on average, are now earning 82 percent of men’s earnings, down from 86 percent last year. The gender differential in universities has, however, shown a slight decrease, with women earning approximately 87 percent of men’s wages, compared with estimates of around 80 percent in 2003.
AUS Women’s Vice-President, Associate Professor Maureen Montgomery, said that appointment levels in universities over the past two years illustrate a probable reason for the differential for women staff, both academic and general. “It appears that academic men are about two-thirds more likely than women to be appointed to higher academic classifications, while women are vastly over-represented in the bottom general staff salary bandings,” she said. “At Lincoln, for example, positions which occupy the bottom two bands of the general staff salary scales are filled by women at the ratio of nine to one over men, whereas, in the top two bands, men dominate by a ratio of three to two over women. Similarly, the ratio of male academic appointments to the classifications of lecturer and above was much higher at all universities than for women, while females dominated lower-ranked classifications such as tutors and sessional assistants. ”
According to Associate Professor Montgomery, AUS membership data also show that women were between 21 and 46 percent more likely to be engaged on fixed-term employment agreements than men. This has been identified as an area of priority for the National AUS Status of Women Committee as it is one of the contributing factors to the gender differential in continuing positions.
Associate Professor Montgomery said that Department of Labour Pay and Employment Equity reviews, set to run at each university next year, would provide an opportunity for problem areas to be identified and measures put in place to remedy any problems.

Also in Tertiary Update this week
1. Student-loan report published
2. Nats continue attack over loan-policy costings
3. NZUSA elects new leaders
4. Business School to be closed
5. National groups seek records on exclusions of foreign scholars
6. University staff to join national protest on IR laws
7. SOAS librarians reinstated
8. Harvard President at centre of fresh controversy

Student-loan report published
Since it was introduced in 1992, around 680,000 people have used the Student Loan Scheme; almost half a million of them, representing 14 percent of the population over the age of fifteen years, still had a loan at 30 June this year.
The Student Loan Scheme Annual Report to 30 June 2005, which was published on Tuesday this week, shows that, after fourteen years, the outstanding national student-loan balance was $7,499 billion, up 10 percent on the previous year. The average loan balance is $14,997, with about 40 percent of loans under $8,000 and 0.1 percent over $100,000.
The report shows that some 157,032 students borrowed from the scheme in the 2004 academic year, of whom 71 percent were under thirty years of age, 60 percent were women, 17 percent were Maori and 7 percent were Pasifika. They borrowed an average of $6,258 in 2004-05 to fund their study, including fees, course-related costs and living costs, compared to $6,316 the year before.
Full-time students continue to be those most likely to access the loan scheme; while about 53 percent of eligible students overall accessed a student loan in 2004, the uptake from full-time students was 74 percent.
According to the report, 173,168 loans have been completely repaid, $1,030 million in interest charges have been written off and $2,827 million has been repaid.
The New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) says, however, that the report shows that the average student debt is increasing, and more students are graduating with extraordinarily high levels of debt. “This report is a sad reminder of how the Student Loan Scheme is making the lives of an entire generation of New Zealanders increasingly difficult,” said Camilla Belich, NZUSA Co-President. “The report shows that the number of students with loan balances over $50,000 has grown by 24 percent in one year, and the number of students with loans over $30,000 has grown by 17 percent since 2004.”
The report, which contains the full, audited financial accounts, an overview of the Government’s policy for student financial support, a description of the components of the scheme and how they work, an extensive set of statistics and a valuation of the scheme, can be located at:
http://www.minedu.govt.nz/index.cfm?layout=document&documentid=10873&data=l

Nats continue attack over loan-policy costings
With legislation tabled in Parliament last week to make student loans interest-free from the start of the new financial year for students and former students residing in New Zealand, the Opposition has wasted little time in trying to making political capital out of the costings on which the proposed legislation is based.
In Parliament’s question time on Tuesday, National Party Leader, Dr Don Brash asked the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, whether the Government had ignored Treasury advice on the cost of implementation of the proposal because she found it politically unpalatable as it showed that, on realistic assumptions, the policy would increase student debt by over $5 billion and Government debt by $14 billion.
Dr Brash pressed further, asking Helen Clark to reconcile earlier statements that the cost of the policy would be around $300 million, when Treasury advice showed the policy would cost $390 million annually by its third year, rising to $500 million annually after 6 years and to almost $1 billion annually by 2019. Helen Clark responded that initial Treasury forecasts had been revised downwards, adding that the loan-interest policy was a good one and had caught the Opposition napping during the election campaign.
The twist came this morning, with the Minister of Education, Dr Cullen, announcing that Treasury’s initial “jottings” were wrong, and that new estimates showed the cost at $202 million per year.
Meanwhile, in response to another question about Maori and Pasifika participation in tertiary education, Dr Cullen told the House that Maori participation in degree courses has increased by 25 percent since 1999 and by 56 percent for Pasifika students. The number of Maori obtaining doctorates has increased by 30 percent and the Pasifika figure has doubled.

NZUSA elects new leaders
The New Zealand University Students’ Association has elected Conor Roberts, current Auckland University Students’ Association Administrative Vice-President, and former National Affairs Officer, as its second Co-President for 2006. He will join Joey Randall as NZUSA Co-Presidents in 2006 and Jennifer Jones as NZUSA National Women’s Rights Officer, both of whom were elected in October.
“I am really excited about representing the interests of students to the Government next year,” said Mr Roberts. “I am committed to ensuring the introduction of the interest-free student-loan policy goes smoothly and lobbying to increase access to student allowances.”
Joey Randall was the Auckland University Students’ Association Education Vice-President in 2004, while Jennifer Jones is the current Education Vice-President at Victoria University Students’ Association.
Joey Randall said that the three were “really thrilled” to be taking on the leadership of NZUSA, and looked forward to furthering the goals of students at a national level.
Jennifer Jones said that, with well over 50 percent of students being women, and with women graduates facing longer student-debt repayment times than the general population, she looked forward to improving the situation for women students in 2006.
Current NZUSA Co-Presidents Camilla Belich and Andrew Kirton, and National Women’s Rights Officer Karen Price, will continue in their roles until the end of this year.

Business School to be closed
In what may be the first casualty of the strategic review of the tertiary education sector, it appears likely that the Christchurch College of Education Business School will be closed. The Press reports that a College Council meeting last night decided that the School would be wound down as part of a proposed merger with the University of Canterbury.
Earlier, the College had sought to sell the Business School because it was not included in its planned merger with the University. Despite several expressions of interest from other public tertiary-education institutions, the College Council called off a tender process because the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) told the College it did not want to see duplication of programmes and, therefore, did not want the Business School to go to a provider from outside the region. TEC staff also indicated that including the Business School in the merger with the University of Canterbury was not an option because the Commission was unlikely to fund the School’s sub-degree courses as they were not compatible with a university context. The possibility of a sale to the Christchurch Polytechnic and Institute of Technology was also ruled out.
The Principal of the College of Education, Dr Graham Stoop, said the Business School has about 450 equivalent full-time students, most of them studying for the New Zealand Diploma of Business, and about 150 studying for a business degree.
The Press reports that a last-minute proposal for the School to continue as a management and leadership centre at the University of Canterbury, involving the New Zealand Institute of Management, was rejected by both the College and University.
Dr Stoop said that the Council has now concluded that current students will be able to complete their studies and graduate because of an offer of support from the University. “If the merger [with the University] is approved, the College of Education will run the School for another year, after which the University will take over for a further two years,” he said.

Worldwatch
National groups seek records on exclusions of foreign scholars
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has joined with the American Civil Liberties Union and PEN American Center in a legal action against the US Departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security and the Central Intelligence Agency. The groups allege that the agencies are illegally withholding information on the Government’s practice of excluding prominent foreign intellectuals based on their political views.
According to the complaint, the US Government appears to be invoking immigration laws and section 411 of the Patriot Act, which permits the exclusion of prominent individuals who have used their positions to endorse or espouse terrorism. However, the individuals named in the complaint are known for their anti-terrorist stands. The complaint cites the experiences of several foreign scholars, including the Swiss intellectual Tariq Ramadan, and the prominent Nicaraguan scholar and former government official, Dora Maria Tellez, as well as a group of Cuban scholars who were scheduled to attend a conference, among others.
“Our concern about academic freedom extends beyond the rights that are assured on our college and university campuses,” said Jane Buck, President of the AAUP. “We believe that the people of this country should be able to hear or read ideas from any speaker or writer without our government’s restricting our access to a full range of perspectives. Indeed, the government of a free people is obliged to guarantee such access.”
A copy of the complaint can be found at:
http://www.aaup.org/Legal/cases/FOIAComplaint.Signed.pdf

University staff to join national protest on IR laws
Thousands of university and polytechnic staff across Australia joined an estimated 546,000 other workers in widespread protests against the Government’s proposed industrial relations laws on Tuesday. National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) General Secretary, Grahame McCulloch, said that, even before the latest package of legislation was introduced, university staff had been angered by the Government’s interference in universities’ internal affairs through its Higher Education Workplace Relations Requirements, which passed through the Senate last week. “These require that universities offer all staff Australian Workplace Agreements, and introduce a range of regressive workplace changes into staff collective agreements, under the threat of having their Commonwealth funding cut,” he said.
“Now we see the Government trying to extend to the whole workforce the agenda it has been imposing on university staff,” said Mr McCulloch. “NTEU members are committed to retaining quality and fairness through collective agreements, which protect their rights, and protect academic freedom. Many members are also concerned about the effect of the laws on their own children, and on students, who increasingly rely on fairly low-paid work to support their studies.”
Mr McCulloch said the Government’s industrial laws are aimed at undermining collective bargaining, reducing wages for the low-paid and removing unfair dismissal rights from millions.
Protests by university staff occurred in all metropolitan cities, and in over twenty regional centres from Darwin to Launceston and from Rockhampton to Bunbury.

SOAS librarians reinstated
Academic staff at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies have called off strike action after management agreed to reinstate two specialist librarians at the centre of a five-month dispute. Members of the Association of University Teachers (AUT) had voted by a margin of 80 percent to take five days of strike action, demanding the reinstatement of Fujiko Kobayashi and Sue Small, specialist librarians in Japan, Korea and China, saying they were needed to maintain the specialist library at the School which is funded as a national resource.
Their sacking from one of the UK's leading specialist libraries prompted AUT members to vote for concerted strike action. Fourteen academics had also resigned posts at the School, though not their jobs, in protest.
Ms Small, who is currently in China, is expected back at her desk in SOAS by the end of the week.
The School, part of the University of London, boasts “one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, which attracts scholars from all over the world to conduct research”.
From the Education Guardian and AUT

Harvard President at centre of fresh controversy
Harvard professors have circulated an email criticising “backbiting” by the US University’s controversial President, Larry Summers, following reported comments about senior staff. The student newspaper, Harvard Crimson, reported sources close to Professor Summers as saying he had planned to sack William Kirby, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, last year. However the controversy that erupted in January over the President’s remarks about female academics meant that he was not in a position to carry out his intentions.
An email circulated by a group of eighteen professors said they were “appalled” that sources have spread rumours about President Summer’s intention to fire the Dean. “We think it is highly improper if, as reported, the President of Harvard has been expressing to members of the Faculty his “deep dissatisfaction” with the Dean of Arts and Sciences. This kind of backbiting is more than unprofessional,” the email read. “It undercuts the work and the morale of colleagues within [the Faculty of Arts and Sciences] and damages the institution as a whole.”
From the Education Guardian

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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: marty.braithwaite@aus.ac.nz

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