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No consultation, no confidence

On March 7 a vote of no confidence in the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Dr Michael Spence, was passed by hundreds of staff and students who gathered outside his office to protest staff cuts announced earlier this year reports Michael Texilake in the April 2012 edition of The South Sydney Herald.

The job cuts come as the University seeks to further increase student enrolments, and the necessity of the cuts has been argued by university management on the basis of an unexpected $50 million drop in profit. Management had forecast higher fee income than has been the case, and is now seeking to reduce academic and general staff numbers to recover the budget. In the same period the University awarded Dr Spence $220,000 in bonuses.

Despite posting a $100 million profit, the University asserts that the $20 million resulting from the staff cuts is necessary to fund $250 million of construction and infrastructure development this year, including the much disputed Abercrombie Precinct project. That project, encompassing 1.9 hectares of land adjacent to Darlington Public School, has been fiercely criticised by residents and the school community, particularly as it includes creation of a major vehicle entry point across a footpath used by the majority of pupils in order to access the school.

In July last year the Vice-Chancellor published a statement assuring the community that these concerns had been heard and the vehicle entry point would be relocated, however the project has since been further revised and the previous vehicle accssh reinstated.

STOP PRESS: Following a hearing by Fair Work Australia on March 16 and 22, the University of Sydney has agreed to postpone its planned job cuts while an additional round of consultation is conducted with staff, including those targeted for redundancy and colleagues whose workloads will be affected by those redundancies. The University expects to inform relevant staff of final decisions by May 7.

Source: The South Sydney Herald April 2012 –