A proposal to disestablish two positions in SIT’s Hospitality department will not be going ahead, following a collaborative effort between TEU, TIASA, and community members, to stop the cuts.

In April, Te Whare Wānanga o Murihiku | SIT announced a proposal to disestablish one technician and one academic staff member from the institution’s Hospitality department, citing reduced student numbers and a decrease in international student enrolments. Both TEU and Tertiary Institutes Allied Staff Association (TIASA) presented strong submissions in opposition to the proposed cuts and reached out to community members and industry for their input.

Staff in the hospitality programme take part in a number of events in the community, including various high profile and charitable functions, and are actively involved in other community events that promote SIT and showcase students’ abilities. These courses and events demonstrate the calibre of staff, the facilities, and the offering of certificate and diploma programmes in Hospitality. TEU members stated that cutting positions within hospitality would likely have a ripple effect and may mean that these events would not be able to continue.

TEU organiser Dan Benson-Guiu says building a strong case for stopping the cuts was a collaborative effort from all involved,

‘It was really great to be working together with TIASA. We held joint meetings and put forward a case that highlighted the work of both technicians and academic staff. We also encouraged our academic members to go and seek support from the community, highlighting the impact of the cuts. I think these letters from the community really tipped the balance of favour toward keeping staff’.

Benson-Guiu says SIT, as with institutions around the country, has undoubtedly been impacted by the decrease in international student enrolments, but says reviews based on projected student numbers can be both premature and misleading,

‘SIT’s review was projecting lower student numbers weeks in advance. But we were also seeing numbers climb just weeks out from the start of course, meaning those projections were quickly out of date and unreliable.

Everyone gets anxious when there is a review, everyone has those conversations with whānau about perhaps losing their job, and it becomes very stressful for people. So, it’s great to have this win for TEU members, and to have SIT acknowledge the impact of cuts on not only staff and students, but on the wider community’.