Restructuring at Vic draws public opposition

Posted By TEU on Jul 28, 2011 |

TEU members at Victoria University of Wellington’s threatened Political Studies and International Relations Programme and Crime and Justice Research Centre are planning a rally next Thursday on Kelburn campus’s Hunter Courtyard. The 1.15pm rally will bring together staff, students and members of the public who are concerned about university proposals to either cut or close departments or centres.

Over two hundred people so far, including many former students and people from outside Wellington, have signed an online petition to the university’s vice-chancellor calling on him to withdraw the restructuring proposals.

Last week the Crime and Justice Research Centre attracted media attention when Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft told the Dominion Post there had been international interest in the centre’s work, and he knew of no other organisation that could produce that kind of research.

“It would be a major loss.”

Heather Henare, the chief executive of Women’s Refuge, Tony Paine, the chief executive of Victim Support, and Kim Workman, the director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment, also all spoke publicly in support of the centre.

A senior research fellow at the centre, Elaine Mossman, told the Dominion Post the centre employed three staff and had generated steadily increasing revenue over the last few years.

Centre staff were left bewildered at the justification for closing the centre down. “The projected figures they have provided are based on half a year’s income only so, of course, it shows us running to a deficit. For the last four years we have run at a surplus.”

Victoria’s vice-chancellor yesterday responded to TEU’s claim that university management have failed to comply with the Education Act and Victoria’s statute on Academic Board by not consulting with Academic Board on academic changes of this kind.

The vice-chancellor claims wide powers for management and denies any role for Academic Board in the current changes, except in the case of the closing of the Crime and Justice Research Centre (CJRC). If a decision is made to close the centre, the vice-chancellor concedes he will ask Academic Board to provide advice.

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