Victoria University’s proposed new council will lack independence if it does not allow staff and students to elect representatives says TEU national president Sandra Grey.
The proposed new council includes seats for two students and two academic experts who are or have been employed by Victoria University. All of these positions will be appointed rather than elected.
Grey says staff have three concerns with the proposal.
The first is that it does not make provision for all staff, or even any staff, to have a voice on council. Experts in an academic field who have previously worked at the university are not the same as staff who currently work there.
The second is the proposal lacks democratic accountability.
“Staff, all staff, not just those who are academics, or those who are ‘experts’, should have a say on who represents them at council,” says Grey.
The third is that the focus on ‘expert’ academics excludes not just all the academics who are still learning their profession, but all the general staff who make up half the university’s workforce and who have important insights into the university’s well-being and governance.
Grey says the university needs to be brave and trust its students and staff to continue to make wise choices.
“The university needs to join the universities of Auckland, Otago, Massey, Lincoln and Canterbury and put in writing that all staff and students have the right to elect council representatives,” says Grey.