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Greens urge University of Western Sydney to hold fire on course cuts

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 20 Nov 2012

Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has put a motion to the Senate urging University of Western Sydney (UWS) management to retain its current courses and academic staffing levels, in the lead up to a decision expected this Wednesday at the UWS Board of Trustees meeting on cutting core courses and academic staff.

Senator Rhiannon will also call on the government to increase public funding by 10 per cent per government supported university student to give budget certainty to universities, including UWS. The motion will be voted on in the Senate this afternoon.

"The Greens are urging the University of Western Sydney to hold fire on cuts to over 50 academic jobs and core courses, including economics, communications and Arabic, Italian and Spanish languages", said Senator Rhiannon. 

"These cuts come fast on the heels of moves to close the Student Learning Unit, an important institution for a university which caters for a large number of students from low-income and non-English speaking backgrounds.

"Cutting these courses would be bad news for the already over-stretched academics who have to contend with high levels of casualisation and some of the biggest staff to student ratios in Australia at 26:1.

"When the government introduced demand-driven funding to universities, the Greens warned that uncapping places may have dire impacts on smaller and regional universities. This appears to be playing out at UWS which has suffered from a flight of students to Sydney University.

"The Greens stand squarely behind the NTEU's campaign urging the University of Western Sydney to take these core courses and academic jobs off the chopping block", said Senator Rhiannon.

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