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Old But Not Redundant!

Academic performance should be judged on merit, not age. This was the view expressed today by Stuart Jordan, the Southern Chair of the Young Nats. He was outraged by the University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Dr Graeme Fogelberg’ s attempt to enforce compulsory retirement for university staff at age 65.

Dr Fogelberg had sought a declaratory judgement under a provision in the Human Rights Act to allow him to uphold a clause in some university employment contracts, requiring compulsory retirement at 65.

“Dr Fogelberg is effectively seeking the right to remove academics purely at whim once they have reached 65”, said Mr Jordan, “This sets a sinister precedent that will hang over the entire academic staff, destroying morale.

“This is a clear issue of age discrimination. He has tried to hide behind the Human Rights Act, but in doing so has gone against the spirit of that legislation. The implication that a person loses their ability to contribute after they reach an arbitrary age is both ludicrous and insulting. Sir Clifford Skeggs, a businessman over 65, is still having a very positive effect on our community. His knowledge and skills are eagerly sought after. He should be thankful Dr Fogelberg does not employ him.

“A university is in the business of knowledge, and accumulated wisdom is a valuable resource, not something to be discarded contemptuously by the Vice-chancellor. Such moves will threaten the quality of academic teaching and therefore lower the standard of Otago Degrees. Younger lecturers do not mean better lecturers. One wonders if Dr Fogelberg will have “best before 65” printed on the bottom of degrees gained at the University.

“We will fight this issue loudly and are organising campaigns and protests on the Otago Campus. We will not have our university tarnished by this brush. Dr Fogelberg needs to stop pursuing a practice that belongs firmly in the past.”


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