The University of Canterbury’s council has voted to retain two courses that the vice-chancellor and his management team had wanted to close. After a public campaign by students and staff at the university, the council voted last night to retain Theatre and Film Studies by nine votes to eight and the Cultural Studies programme by eight votes to seven.
However, the council voted in favour of closing American Studies and to stop its operations research course within its Management Science programme. The Press reports that the council meeting turned into a three-hour debate with passionate pleas from staff and students to save courses. A packed public gallery met the decisions to retain theatre and film studies and cultural studies with cries of joy, The Press reports.
TEU organiser Gabrielle Moore says the staff and students showed the council that the future of the university is in growing and connecting with its local community, rather than the vice chancellor’s vision of restricting and specialising solely in science and engineering.
The council only reached a decision to close American Studies programme after Chancellor John Wood use his casting vote to break a tied vote of council members.
Seven fulltime equivalent staff and over 150 fulltime equivalent students will be affected by the closures.
Several council members expressed concern about the information provided by management surrounding the financial case to get rid of the courses. Many questioned a PricewaterhouseCoopers report that outlined the financial benefit of closing the courses.
Ms Moore said that the two programmes the council has chosen to close are both profitable for the university.
“Even though the council has voted to close the programmes we believe the courses the staff provide can still continue. None of the staff are redundant yet and university management has not met with TEU yet to work out what the next step is. We intend to meet with management immediately to resolve what happens next, both for staff and students,” said Ms Moore.