Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce told the Christchurch Press he will not intervene to prevent the University of Canterbury from closing theatre and film studies, American studies and cultural studies.
The minister was responding to an open letter from TEU last week asking him to provide the financial help so the departments could continue.
The closures would make nine full time-equivalent staff redundant and affect 150 students.
Joyce told the Press the proposal to alter the mix of programmes was a decision for the university.
“It is not appropriate for me as minister to interfere in the university’s operations.”
TEU national president Dr Sandra Grey rejected that excuse saying the issue was not so much the individual departments but the need for the government to support a broad diverse and local tertiary education in Canterbury.
“If the vice-chancellor had not picked these three programmes he would be trying to pick three others,” said Dr Grey. “One of the major problems at Canterbury is a systematic failure by government to support a diverse open university for all the people of Canterbury following the earthquakes. That is wider than interfering in internal decisions about three departments and it is something that the minister has a duty to address.”