UOW students fear staff job and course cuts will 'further diminish' their experience

NOT HAPPY: WUSA education officer Robin Pierson says cutting staff and their wages will diminish the experience for students even further. Picture: Adam McLean.
NOT HAPPY: WUSA education officer Robin Pierson says cutting staff and their wages will diminish the experience for students even further. Picture: Adam McLean.

COVID-19 has already diminished the university experience for many students, particularly those starting their higher education degree in 2020.

University of Wollongong communications and media student Robin Pierson fears all students' experiences will be diminished even further following "management's attack on staff".

The Wollongong Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) education officer was referring to news UOW was looking to cut 350 jobs by removing duplicated roles across campus and reviewing low-enrolment subjects.

UOW management told staff of its plans after talks aimed at keeping the university financially viable broke down on Wednesday.

Efforts to recoup a projected $90 million shortfall in its 2020 budget could also see UOW cut low-enrolment degrees.

This did not sit well with Pierson.

"Our learning conditions are not clear as it seems a lot of courses are going to be cut because of these attacks on our staff. Add that to the uni fee hikes that are going on and we are paying way more for less," she said.

"It is totally messed up. This just shows how ordinary people always have to be the ones to pay for an economic crisis.

"It is never the bosses. It is never the vice-chancellors who have to pay. It is always ordinary students and ordinary staff who have to save the university."

University management and UOW branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) have both indicated they'd be keen to return to the negotiating table.

The NTEU also indicated it would "fight the redundancies" if was left with no other choice.

Pierson said it was important for students to support any industrial action taken by staff.

"Things are bad enough financially with COVID-19. We should be supporting our staff and actually demanding job security for them," she said.

"It seem universities will use whatever means possible to transition into degree factories.

"It is not about having fun. It is not about growing as a person or getting the best education. It is about funnelling people into the job market and it is about telling students that they don't deserve to have any sort of enjoyment, any sort of pride in their university and in their achievements.

"This approach is depriving us of our resources, depriving us off our needs and our wants just so universities can make as much profit as they can."

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This story UOW students fear staff, job and course cuts will 'further diminish' their experience first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.