NTEU Newsroom | 12 November 2012
An open letter advertisement in The Age newspaper signed by 225 of Victoria’s academic leaders calls for the Baillieu Government to abandon its Education Legislation Amendment (Governance) Bill which goes before Parliament this week. The Bill will strip staff and student representatives of guaranteed seats on university councils.
The signatories say that the Bill “is a fundamental threat to the autonomy of universities and will destroy, overnight, the centuries-old constitutional tradition that protects universities from direction by the state and interference from commercial and sectional interests”:
The term university derives from the Latin expression meaning a ‘community of teachers and scholars’. Any institution worthy of the name must ensure that those teachers and scholars – the staff and students – continue to be represented on university councils by representatives elected from their midst. We call on the State Government to respect the centuries of constitutional and institutional tradition, the declarations of international bodies such as UNESCO, and the overwhelming wishes of staff and students and abandon its Bill.
Jeannie Rea, President of the National Tertiary Education Union, say sthe Bill would allow the government to stack university and TAFE councils with cronies.
Universities are public institutions which should be run in the public interest. Universities are communities of scholars and students and should be run by people who understand the fundamental activities of universities best – teaching, learning and research