Proposed cuts to the University of Waikato’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) will jeopardise the study options available to current and future students, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley, was told on Tuesday at a rally attended by staff and students.
The VC plans to cut seventeen teaching jobs from music, religious studies, political science and public policy, screen and media, history, linguistics and women, gender and labour studies.
At the Save Waikato’s ASS campaign rally on Tuesday, staff and students warned Professor Quigley that his planned cuts would severely impact the long-term viability of arts and social science subjects at Waikato.
Students also organised a concert on Monday attended by 300 people and a petition, which has been signed by almost 2,500 protesting the cuts.
Rachel Twyman, a violin student at the Conservatorium of Music that is under threat from the VC’s job cuts and a lead organiser of Monday’s concert, told Radio New Zealand
“cutting three of our fulltime staff would jeopardise the future of the music department and we want to stop that happening.”
RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan also spoke to Professor Douglas Pratt, who faces losing his job.
The planned cuts are part of a longstanding attack on humanities in favour of STEM subjects such as the sciences, IT and engineering.
Music Associate Professor and composer Martin Lodge also told RNZ:
“It’s not just about a few music staff losing our job, that’s sad of course, but it’s really a much bigger picture about the future of this region and the future of our young people and the opportunities available to them.”
Consultations on the proposal close on 21 April and a decision is expected by mid-May.
Save Waikato’s ASS is asking people to back their campaign by writing to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley, asking him to find a way forward that guarantees future generations the world class arts and social science education Waikato deserves and expects.