With the government likely to announce in the next few days that it will change the law to take control of local university councils, TEU is calling for vice-chancellors to intercede.
TEU believes the government will announce plans within the next few days to wrest control of university councils into the hands of its own ministerial appointees. The changes are likely to mimic the changes the government imposed on polytechnics in 2009. Those changes reduced the size of councils, guaranteed the ministerial appointees a voting majority and removed seats from local staff, students, iwi and community members.
TEU’s national secretary Sharn Riggs says it is important that the organisation representing vice-chancellors and chancellors, Universities NZ, takes a vocal and active stand against the changes.
“Universities know that when the government passed a law to replace polytechnic councillors with a majority of ministerial appointees those polytechnics lost some of their academic independence. We believe that vice-chancellors and chancellors will join us in opposing similar legislation for universities. We regard any move to replace locally elected and chosen community staff and student representatives with a council dominated by ministerial appointees as an attack on democracy and on academic freedom,” said Sharn Riggs.