University of Waikato out of step on council democracy

Posted By TEU on Jul 2, 2015 | 1 comment

Tertiary Update Vol 18 No 21

Waikato’s proposal for just one staff member on its council, appointed by the academic board, is awkwardly out of step with other universities.

Auckland, Massey, Canterbury, Lincoln and Otago universities are all opting for two elected staff members, one of whom is a general staff representative.

TEU’s Waikato University branch president Dov Bing says that it is important that there is more than one staff member on the council, and that they are elected.

Bing says Waikato University told a TEU delegation that it is only allowing one staff member a seat on council because it wants to provide a seat to the local Waikato iwi.

“But we don’t see it as an either-or choice.  On a 12 person council the minister gets four appointees by right, and that leaves eight seats for the university to share – more than enough for four elected staff and students as well as iwi representation.”

Victoria University has not signalled what it wants to do yet when it redesigns its council, but all other universities apart from Waikato and AUT have settled on, or are moving towards models that include two elected staff representatives and one elected student.

TEU national president Sandra Grey says most universities’ proposals show that they are listening to staff concerns.

“While the ‘two elected staff, one elected student’ model is not our ideal outcome – we believe that one-third of seats on council should go to elected staff and students – it does show a commitment to staff and student voice and to democracy. Waikato’s model falls far short of that emerging consensus though.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Government funding cuts forcing Aoraki-CPIT merger
  2. Rainbow network wants greater support for transgender staff
  3. Waiariki fined $40,000 after chainsaw accident
  4. Uber takes on tertiary education

Other news

Lincoln University campus has been rattled by the surprise resignation of Vice-Chancellor Andrew West. The specialist, land-based university’s leader since April 2012 handed in his resignation on Friday to “refocus on my family” in both Waikato and England – Stuff

The national student union welcomed yesterday’s $25 per week top up for students who are parents and the extension of the accommodation supplement to solo parents who are students. NZUSA president Rory McCourt says the changes are good for opportunity in New Zealand and will encourage more parents into study – NZUSA

In less than five years, Tauranga will have its own university campus, promising courses linked directly to local industry and a huge boost for the Bay of Plenty’s economy – Bay of Plenty Times

Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Education, along with the University’s Foundation Studies programme, will relocate to the University’s Kelburn campus early next year – Victoria University of Wellington

Violent attacks on higher education students, staff and institutions around the world are occurring with “alarming frequency”, according to a new report, which documents 485 killings in 18 countries in the past four and a half years – University World News


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