Thursday, October 06, 2005


VUW v VUWSA: Injunction lifted

Well, events have overtaken me .. Vic lifted the injunction last night, and a very boring "no comment" on the whole shebang has been issued by VUWSA and VUW jointly. More interesting are the details of the suppressed article, the proposed fee increases by the new VC (credit to No Right Turn):
According to the leaked documents, Vice-Chancellor Pat Walsh presented four options for fee increases in 2006 (for undergraduate and Honours courses):

1. 5% increase across-the-board
2. 10% increase for Humanities and Education; 5% increase for everyone else
3. 10% increase for Law, Humanities and Education; 5% increase for everyone else
4. 10% increase across-the-board
Under all four options, all postgraduate fees will increase by $500 per Equivalent Full-Time Student (EFTS).

But it also looks like Pat Walsh has been taking lessons from Auckland University, inserting a comment relating to the level of fees impacting on the perceived quality of the institution. In other words, if you charge more, people think you are better and want to attend. (NRT referred to this as 'snob value').
Options 2 - 4 will require permission from the Tertiary Education Commission as they go over the 5% threshold. I'll be posting a form letter here to them in the next few days as people need to show TEC that permission should not be granted.

Concerning the latest example of the Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington's disdain for the basic rights of those under his auspices, what I would think members of that community would find "to say the least, extremely disappointing" (to quote Professor Walsh's initial statement on the legal action he elected to take against the Salient) is that one as familiar with economic democracy as Victoria University's erstwhile Professor of Industrial Relations would fail to recognise the irony (at best) and the injustice (at worse) in his censoring of the only media outlet devoted to expressing a voice on matters related to student affairs at VUW while, at the same time, declaring of his commitment to "free and frank exchange of information and views."

Further to this, in accordance with its Charter, Victoria University "values its staff and students... by maintaining and protecting the academic freedom of (its) staff and students..., by acting to ensure that all members of the University community are treated with respect and concern for their rights..., and by providing staff and students with the opportunity to be involved in the making of decisions that affect them." As such, (to paraphrase Professor Walsh's more recent statement on the legal action taken by the University against the Salient), "what this court action has demonstrated is the cavalier disregard with which (the University's Vice-Chancellor) holds (the values) of this University."

The clear lesson for this is that, simply because one claims to subscribe to the notion of economic democracy does not render that individual immune to the lure of autocratic rule when the opportunity presents itself. Resisting the temptation to deny a voice to those directly affected by administrative decisions requires a modicum of integrity on the part of the administrator making those decisions. This, however, is a quality this man who shares a namesake with the actor who played Nikko, the Wicked Witch's head winged monkey, in the Wizard of Oz is clearly lacking.
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