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Don't sack Canterbury academics - Greens

23 March 2006

Don't sack Canterbury academics - Greens

The University of Canterbury should abandon its proposal to sack eight staff from the University's College of Arts, Green Party Tertiary Education Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

Mrs Turei yesterday attended a rally organised by student group 'Save Our Staff' which drew hundreds of staff and students alike in support of the eight staff whose jobs are on the line.

"The University of Canterbury made a staggering $9 million profit last year, exceeding all projections. Yet because of a blind adherence to a severe corporate model, which requires every college to turn a profit, it is considering critical cuts in the arts," Mrs Turei says.

"The University's profits are largely generated by students, and yet students of Religious Studies, Music, History and Languages could face drastically reduced choice in their chosen subject areas. This is simply unfair.

The proposed changes promoted by the University also recommend cutting Islamic Studies academic staff entirely.

"Islamic Studies has been taught at Canterbury for the last 35 years, and is hugely valuable in providing students with a better understanding of the Islamic world," Mrs Turei says.

"At a time when extreme religious intolerance is leading to conflict on the world stage, and Western nations are occupying Islamic states, every opportunity must be taken to increase religious tolerance and critical analysis of these important international issues. Cutting this course now is completely irresponsible.

"These proposed job losses reflect the way that the EFTS funding model has encouraged ruthless profit seeking in our tertiary education institutions. A new funding model could be on the horizon though - which would make these cuts seem all the more shortsighted.

"The University should instead be listening to the staff and students who attended yesterday's rally and preserving the jobs of these beleaguered staff," Mrs Turei says.


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