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Canterbury College of Arts staff cuts to proceed

Gareth Talbot



Staff cuts at the University of Canterbury’s College of Arts look inevitable, despite massive staff and student protests.
At a recent meeting between staff and management. Canterbury’s Vice Chancellor Roy Sharp explained that, although he was sympathetic to College of Arts staff, job cuts were inevitable due to budgetary constraints.
Sharp outlined the University of Canterbury’s strategic plan, highlighting the fact that 2005’s surplus was being fed entirely back into the University, and that no more money was available.
“I won’t allow budget deficits to happen,” says Sharp, arguing that student numbers dictated that redundancies in the arts were necessary.
“Just because decisions are difficult doesn’t mean you don’t have to make them. Someone has to take the lead and manage the university,” he says.
AUS branch president David Small called the staff cuts “completely unnecessary.”
“The College of Arts isn’t making any financial losses at all. The accounting system that has been established is engineered to make it look like that. But overall the university is posting healthy surpluses.”
Small added that staff morale in the College of Arts was especially low. “Consultation with academics is basically nonexistent,” he says.
When asked about the 2,270 signatures—the majority of them from students—that were recently presented to him in a petition against the job cuts, Sharp said it would not sway the decision, adding, “the Vice Chancellor and the Council are the only ones with a view of the whole University.”