TEU Massey University | Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa branch members have chosen to down tools for two hours on 12 March at stop-work meetings on all three Massey campuses following consultation with those affected by discussion documents that propose possible course and job cuts.
TEU representatives have held meetings across Massey campuses to discuss the proposed changes outlined in a College of Sciences discussion document, and in discussion documents in the Colleges of Health and Business.
Staff and students are voicing their anger and disbelief at the lack of consultation around changes that will negatively impact the study of science in New Zealand.
The proposed changes – released on the first day of the semester – are part of a new “Digital Plus” strategy which pushes to consolidate subjects onto a single “anchor” campus and replace face-to-face teaching with digital platforms. The changes in the College of Science alone cast an uncertain future for over 70 staff, 150 post-graduate students, and 650 undergraduate students.
A key concern for TEU members is the lack of adequate consultation on the Digital Plus proposal which shapes the discussion documents. New Zealand’s tertiary education system belongs to all of us, we all benefit from it, and we must all have a say in how our education institutions are run. Decisions about the future of the sector must involve sector leaders, academics, staff, unions, iwi, community organisations, business and industry, and service providers.
However, many affected staff, students and members of the scientific community feel the lack of adequate consultation around the proposed changes at Massey are indicative of a failure to properly engage with experts and stakeholders on matters that affect us all.
For Dr Cat Pausé, Massey University senior lecturer and TEU National Council member, meaningful consultation prior to changes within the sector is about honouring academic freedom and workplace democracy, and in this case, ensuring the quality of scientific research and learning,
”Delivering a document to staff the first day of a new teaching semester does not suggest that meaningful consultation is the goal. Delivering a document that proposes to delete the offering of a newly developed BSc qualification on the first day of a new intake into that qualification does not suggest that student needs and education are the top priority”.
TEU members have successfully won an extension on the consultation process, and now seek a change in attitude from management around how major change is made at Massey.