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Staff pay for poor management, not academic values

Association of University Staff

Media Release
Attn Education Reporter 14 November 2006

University staff pay for poor management as academic values go down the drain

University of Auckland staff say they are paying the cost of poor management and inadequate planning, following confirmation that twenty-one full time staff academic positions are to be cut from the University’s Faculty of Arts.

The Faculty’s Academic Staffing Confirmation Document, released last week, says that nine academic staff positions are to be disestablished from the Arts, with a further 12.25 full-time positions to be lost through retirement, natural attrition and/or voluntary severance. A further thirty-three jobs are expected to go from the Faculties of Education and Business.

The Association of University Staff (AUS) Auckland Branch President, Dr Helen Charters, said that the University’s decision to cut jobs was a crude and short-sighted action, caused primarily by a management which has failed to take account of demographic trends, fiddled with degree structures and increased student fees, and which has acted in a way that generally entrenches a destructive market-mentality “bums-on-seats” approach to public education.

Dr Charters said that the University was compromising the academic well-being of the University by making decisions based solely on a short-term financial basis without consideration to the academic consequences of its decisions. “The Vice-Chancellor acts as though the University is a corporation, where each staff member is expected to turn a profit, and where academic and social values are given only token acknowledgement,” she said. “This undermines important functions of a university; to ensure the advancement of knowledge, to foster and protect critical thinking and to advance the country’s social and economic development.”

Dr Charters said that, when those charged with governance of the University fail in their duty to defend academic values, it was the moral and legal responsibility of every academic to speak out. She said that AUS would continue to fight the proposed job losses, to defend academic standards and values and seek a more collaborative relationship with the governors and managers of the university.

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A a background document, “Union stands up for academic values” which sets out a more detailed view on the proposed staff cuts, can be found at:

http://www.aus.ac.nz/branches/auckland/akld06/Ak-SupplementaryStatement.pdf

ENDS

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