AUS Tertiary Update Vol.3 No.28
AND THE MASSEY SHAMBLES CONTINUES…
Massey University Council passed a controversial resolution at its 1 September meeting that purportedly seeks to ensure that, if AUS is successful in its legal challenge to the current ‘repositioning’ project, it will be no more than a pyrrhic victory. The Council approved a resolution that seeks to break the link between the Academic Board and its Academic Committee – an issue at the heart of the litigation.
This move by Council follows a decision made by the Academic Committee on 16 August purportedly to approve retrospectively the recommendations on the ‘repositioning’ project, made by Academic Board to the University Council on 4 August, without ever seeing the documents.
AUS believes that the integrity of Massey as an academic institution has been seriously undermined by these cynical resolutions and that the Council has implicitly acknowledged the merits of the AUS case by taking this action last Friday.
We consider, however, that the Council resolution is both illegal and misguided and we have called on the Minister of Education to seek a report on the issue from the Chancellor and each of the ministerial appointees on Council.
We have also advised Government that the constitution of both Massey’s Academic Board and Academic Committee is in breach of the UNESCO requirement that all academic bodies should have a majority of academic members elected by the academic staff and intend taking this matter further.
Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. Victoria Deficit Reduction Plans
2. Victoria Students Concerned About Cuts
3. NZ University of Technology Proposal Back on Track
4. Massey Spending Millions on Capital Expenditure
VICTORIA DEFICIT REDUCTION PLANS
A consultation document aimed at reducing Victoria University’s deficit has been described as "reclaiming management of the university by the academics".
Key elements outlined in the document include schools of 20-35 staff being the academic units of the University, recentralising financial functions, the abolition of two assistant VC positions, and establishment of a wananga.
Some of the proposals indicate a trend away from the managerialism of recent times.
Feedback is called for over the next three weeks with a final strategy document to then be prepared for Academic Board and Council approval.
VICTORIA STUDENTS CONCERNED ABOUT CUTS
Students are concerned about the potential impact of wide-ranging staff cuts following this week’s announcement that Victoria University is to cut $4m from its School and Department budgets over the next year.
The Students’ Association is also very concerned about proposed cuts to the Student Services budget, which is to be reduced by $300,000 over the next two years.
“Many student services are the ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’. They are already working on a shoe-string budget and I’m not sure they can survive with any further cuts,” Victoria Student President, Chris Hipkins said.
He also criticised plans to sell houses near the campus as a lost opportunity to create more student accommodation.
NZ UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY PROPOSAL BACK
A New Zealand University of Technology could be operating by 2002 if the proposal by the Association of Polytechnics of New Zealand is approved.
The APNZ is presenting a submission to TEAC on this issue at the end of September.
AUS supported an earlier version of this proposed new institution, which would own and award all degrees outside the existing university system.
SPENDING MILLIONS ON CAPITAL EXPENDITURE
Striking Massey staff are disgusted that $60 million is being spent on capital expenditure this year when their pay rise request would cost less than one-twentieth of that amount.
Members of AUS, PSA and ASTE went on strike last Friday for the first time in Massey University's history. Talks with management had broken down five weeks earlier when management refused to budge from demanding clawbacks in retirement benefits and a pay offer lower than the rate of inflation.
Joint unions’ industrial action committee speaker, Dr Karen Rhodes said the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar tried to divert attention from the dispute by releasing academic promotion details on Friday, claiming deserving staff received 2-14% pay increases.
“A 14% pay increase in a promotion round is unheard of. Someone being promoted from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer could make only a 1% pay increase. Only 1/6 of general staff received any merit increase last year and those were nowhere near 14%. In the real world, the only people getting close to 14% are the Vice-Chancellor and his upper management team,” said Dr Rhodes.
BOOK PRICES ON THE UP
The price of the average academic book has gone up by 6.1 percent to £44.18 in 1999-2000 compared with £41.62 in 1998-99, according to the Library and Information Statistics Unit at Loughborough University. The greatest increases were in social sciences (31%), performing arts except music (27.3%) and management and business administration (20.4%). The largest falls were in psychology (-22%) and history (-15.5%).
PUMP UP THE RESEARCH BASE
The Australian Government should inject $500 million over five years to lift its flagging research infrastructure and double the Australian Research Council's funding from an annual $240 million to $480 million over the same period, a national report says.
Two reports have recently stressed the urgent need for investment in the national research base.
The Innovation Summit Implementation Group’s report said spending of research and development money on fixed assets had fallen from around 16 percent in 1990-91 to around only 5 percent now.
Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee chief Ian Chubb said the reports gave the Government a solid foundation upon which to “move forward in the national interest”.
AUS Tertiary Update is produced weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website: