Students Settle in for the Night
Students occupying Victoria University's Hunter Building have settled in for the night, arguing that the University has to accept a level of responsibility for escalating fees and poor staff and student morale. Spokesperson for the occupiers, Yadana Saw, said the students were particularly concerned that staff at the University had been forced to take strike action tomorrow because the Vice-Chancellor had refused to negotiate with them about a pay increase.
"The Vice-Chancellor will argue that his hands are tied by a lack of government funding, but at the same time he is willing to spend up large on marketing campaigns and operate the University as though it was a corporation. Students and staff have all had enough," Ms Saw said.
Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association President-elect Chris Hipkins said he was appalled that staff had been forced into a position where strike action was their only remaining option this close to exams.
"I fully support the staff in their action. All they asked was that the University and the Vice-Chancellor come to the table and negotiate, but they weren't even willing to do that, it really stinks,' Mr. Hipkins said.
"Students are continually being asked to shoulder the burden of the government's running down of the tertiary education sector, and the Vice-Chancellor and his colleagues are in a position to take a stand. But they won't. They make half-hearted statements about lack of funding, but then go ahead and escalate fees anyway," Ms Saw said.
"One thing the University have to remember is that a happy staff is a productive staff. Students deserve to be taught by excellent teachers who enjoy their work, that won't happen unless you pay them what they deserve,' Mr Hipkins said.
For more information contact:
Chris Hipkins (025) 28 777
Yadana Saw (021) 610 154