Students at Massey University are urging the institution to rethink its decision to make significant cuts to the college of sciences. The university recently unveiled a proposal that would end all engineering courses and merge the school of natural sciences with the school of food and advanced technology. This move comes as the university anticipates a $53 million loss for the upcoming year.
In response, around 70 students drafted an open letter to the university’s leadership. Phoebe Moss, a student representative, emphasised that the reductions would hamper research, reduce the appeal for potential staff, and lower the institution’s influence in natural sciences. She also stressed the cuts’ impact on education quality, course availability, and staff morale.
The students acknowledged the financial challenges faced by the university but believe the proposed changes will harm both current and future students, as well as the broader academic community. They are pushing for a more inclusive dialogue to discover solutions that preserve the school of natural sciences.
The university has already initiated measures to address the financial strain, such as offering voluntary redundancies which resulted in approximately 20 staff departures, saving $2m annually. However, without additional changes, the college is projected to have a $12m deficit by 2024.
Vice-chancellor Jan Thomas has empowered pro vice-chancellor Ray Geor to ensure financial viability. Responding to the concerns, Geor stated that the university values feedback and remains open to alternative solutions.