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Students Reject University’s Services Shake-up

Media Release: For immediate release 06 October 2006

Students Reject University’s Student Services Shake-up

Reactions from students towards the proposed changes to student services at the University of Canterbury have ranged from scepticism to outrage, and has prompted the UCSA to write its own submission against the move. A Change Proposal for the Integration and Provision of Student Support and Related Services was issued by the University last month, in which it proposes new structures and ways in which students are administered support on campus. The changes would see certain specialised support areas dismantled and could cost many staff their jobs.

Among those particularly affected are the adult, Maori and Pacific student support areas which will be disestablished and amalgamated under the current ‘Marketing and Liaison’ unit. The International Student Support Office will be downsized and “re-branded” as “Pastoral Care” which will be required to perform a “wider range” of student support functions. Disability Support Services is also being moved to another area, while the Equity and Hardship office will also experience serious cut-backs.

A Student Forum held this afternoon gave students a chance to express their main concerns. One of the primary arguments against the proposed changes is the almost total lack of comprehensive consultation with students likely to be affected by the restructuring. Furthermore, while the change proposal details what services will be cut, there is no specification of where these integral services will be picked up. Students expressed frustration that the full report of the review of Student Services was not being made public, so that informed submissions against the findings of the report could not be made.

Warren Poh, President of the Students’ Association, told students at the Forum that the proposed changes may be contrary to the University’s Strategic Profile, the University Charter, and the flawed consultation process may be infringing principles of natural justice.

Current action being taken by the Students’ Association include petitions in the Association cafes and an email loop keeping interest students aware of recent developments. The UCSA’s submission will be presented to the Student Services Review Panel on the 17th October.

ENDS

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