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Postgraduate students are petitioning Auckland University of Technology over academic staff cuts — saying it is hugely disruptive and will impact on New Zealand’s research sector.

AUT planned to cut 170 academic positions — those affected had until last Thursday to take voluntary redundancy or face a compulsory layoff.

The petition states the criteria for selecting which staff would go was based on “unjust” and “flawed” performance criteria — something backed by the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) which is taking legal action against AUT on similar grounds.

The criteria included “teaching” and “research” on disputed grounds, but ignored “supervision” and “community service”, vital components of academic workloads.

The petition says that it is “to reinstate AUT academic staff who have been made redundant based on unjust and flawed performance criteria.

“This decision heavily impacts [on] postgraduate and undergraduate students who were not considered in this process. Numerous academic staff members who are integral to the success of students and the university have been made redundant and we urge the AUT senior leadership team to reinstate them.”

RNZ’s Susie Ferguson talks to TEU organiser Jill Jones, and two PhD students: “Sarah”, and Melanie Welfare, who have both signed the petition requesting AUT reinstate staff.

  • Pacific Media Watch reports that the journalism programme, which celebrates 50 years of teaching media tomorrow, is among those sectors hit by the AUT layoffs.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ. 

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