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March 15, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Baby Government School Slashes with Keysian Magic Marker

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Even those who teach public servants not safe

Staff cuts at Victoria’s School of Government lack vision and could have a negative impact on students and the school’s future, according to the Tertiary Education Union.

Tertiary Education Union organiser Michael Gilchrist says Victoria University is proposing to cut four academic staff positions from the School of Government.

Gilchrist says the cuts fail “to consider the impact on students, the public sector and the school’s future”.

“There is, simply, no forward strategic vision, academic or financial.

“There is nothing in the change proposal that describes the impact of staff cuts on course offerings, what courses will or will not be taught in the future and how students will be supported in completing their courses and degrees.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Law Faculty Dean Tony Smith says the School of Government is consulting with staff on a proposed restructure which would potentially affect four full-time positions.

Smith says the staff cuts are necessary due to budget constraints.

“Every effort has been made to reduce expenditure and it is with regret that the school now needs to look at how to reduce salary costs.

“All cost-saving measures will be implemented while ensuring that the integrity of the school’s programmes is maintained.”

Gilchrist says the cost of redundancies has not been included in the review.

“There is no analysis of the considerable costs of redundancies against the supposed benefits of the change and no estimate of the impact on future revenue of losing the significant income that comes from student funding and student fees in these areas of study.

“In fact, total enrolments in the School at 9 March this year are up nearly 12 per cent from those in 2009. So the university runs the risk of making a really regrettable decision through a lack of due diligence,” Gilchrist said.

“The university has shown a willingness to consider alternative cost-cutting suggestions from staff, including offer of reductions in hours, leave without pay, early retirement and the like. We applaud moves in this area.

“But staff are immensely frustrated by the failure of management to work to a strategic plan or to provide any scenarios that estimate the impact, both academic and financial, of the changes they are proposing,” Gilchrist concluded.

Current students in the School of Government will be supported to complete their programme of study.

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