Cuts at Waikato expected to be the first of many in 2024.

A fresh round of staff cuts announced this week at the University of Waikato is expected to be the first of many across the university sector according to Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union.

In a document emailed to staff on Monday, Pro Vice Chancellor Patrick Leman wrote that “Arts, Law, Psychology and Social Sciences has a savings target of $1.3m against projected revenue and spend.” He went on to state that reorganisation “could be followed by a careful consideration of staffing in new Schools and a further review process to identify further potential savings.”

Kaiwhakahaere | Organiser Shane Vugler says “the initial proposal indicates a small number of job losses amongst deans, school managers and school administrators and we are expecting this to be followed up by a second stage that will target academic staff and have a greater impact on FTE. We also expect further restructuring in other faculties that will aim to balance the books.”

The university’s most recent annual report showed a deficit of $16.8 million. Four other universities are projecting significant deficits, which the union predicts will lead to yet more cuts that will have an impact on the provision of quality public education.

Vugler says “the most disturbing thing about all this is the University of Waikato is expecting significant enrolment growth in both domestic and international students this year – it’s a time when they should be growing not cutting. Fewer staff and more students could spell disaster for our members, who tell us they are already overwhelmed by high workloads.”

“This from a university that has heavily committed itself to an expensive and unnecessary new medical school that it will be stretched to deliver. It would be well advised to ditch that idea and focus on maintaining the programmes it already runs and the staff who deliver them.”

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Enzo Giordani
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