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UNSW cuts to academic staff another cowboy tactic

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 30 Jul 2013

The Australian Greens say the UNSW management’s plan to slash 35 jobs (10 per cent of the workforce) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is self-inflicted and will have a real, negative impact on the quality of education within the faculty.

Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Lee Rhiannon  said: “Vice-Chancellor Hilmer’s cowboy approach to the sector, demonstrated by his announcement to implement a minimum ATAR entry score of 80 is bad policy and is leading to bad outcomes.

“This measure is a self-inflicted wound. UNSW has deliberately reduced the number of students who can enrol in the Arts from next year by increasing the ATAR cut-off from 78 to 80. Not only does this arbitrary number prohibit potentially hard-working students from attending UNSW, it will reduce the total number of students studying within the Faculty.

“University management would have known this when they implemented the policy, which is why they must be condemned for cutting 35 staff.

“Hilmer’s alleged rationale for implementing the ATAR cut-off of 80 was about increasing education quality. How is he going to justify these cuts which will drive down education quality?

 “The Federal Labor government also bears responsibility for a decline in education quality. Their $2.3 billion cuts to the sector will rip millions out of university budgets making course and staff cuts more likely at universities.

 “The Greens policy is to reverse Labor’s cuts and boost public funding of universities by 10 per cent. It’s estimated that UNSW will be better off by $56 million over four years under the Greens’ plan,” Senator Rhiannon said.

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