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Canterbury Uni says material released today is misleading

1 September 2011

The University of Canterbury says material released today which purports to be a document presented to the University's governing body is misleading.

It has been reported today that the University is considering shedding 350 jobs in response to the economic impact of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. The media reports are based on material released by the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) which mixes an internal document, that outlines the University's 10-year financial planning, with anonymous commentary.

In an email to staff today the Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr says the University is committed to being upfront with staff and students on the budget challenges facing the institution.

"In response to questions from media today I have made it clear that while there has been a 13 per cent drop in student numbers (compared to this time last year) and while some redundancies are inevitable, we are still considering how the University might adapt to the post-earthquake environment. I also made it clear that we do not have plans at this stage to make reductions of the magnitude suggested in the media reports."

He says the material released by the TEU is misleading because it does not adequately distinguish the official University report from unattributed commentary on the Government's response to date to the University's financial position post-earthquake.

"As a result, it has caused unnecessary distress to our students and staff who have already had alot to deal with this year personally and professionally.

"I have made it very clear from early August that we are facing significant financial challenges. The University's senior management team has been working hard to identify solutions that will minimise adverse impacts on the university, its staff and students. In parallel we have been having regular meetings with the Tertary Education Commission (TEC) and the Tertiary Education Minister to ensure that there is an in-depth understanding of the University’s position.

"The University Council has asked the senior management team to prepare a range of scenarios. This work is underway and will be discussed with Council before a recommended budget is adopted by the end of November.
"It is very clear in my mind that Canterbury and New Zealand needs a strong, comprehensive, research-intensive, broad-based university in this city. We are fully committed to furthering that goal."

ENDS

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