Words || Rayna Bland
This Thursday on the 22nd of October at 4pm in the Mason Theatre student activists will be holding a Student ‘Counter’ Council in response to the Macquarie Council’s meeting. Each year the Macquarie Council gathers to discuss how the university should be operated. The student activist group, the Macquarie Students against the Cuts have also published an open letter demanding that the University Council hear out students during this meeting, answer their questions and livestream the event for transparency. Students will meet at the Mason theatre with the intention of being invited into the council meeting happening at the same time. If students are not invited to attend the meeting there will be a discussion on how the university should be run: with the democratic control of students and staff in the interests of education and not by a group of bosses in the interest of profits.
As the open letter highlights the course cuts and staff job losses are extraordinarily significant. The open letter states: “Macquarie University management have signed off on huge cuts to courses at the university. 9 Bachelor degrees (16% of total) and 20 Masters Degrees (22% of total) are being slashed this November. 48 courses and 203 course components will not be offered as of next year.” This is huge. The quality of education for students and the livelihood of so many Macquarie staff members are on the line. Students can also expect less tutorials and more ‘lectorials’. More and more units will be moved online and Macquarie teaching staff can expect a much heavier workload. This is really sad considering that Macquarie University already has one of the worst staff-student ratios in Australia consisting of 1:69 (World University Rankings 2020). The NTEU predicts that 600-1000 staff members will be sacked by the cruel hands of university management and the casual staff budget will be cut to $0 for some departments. These cuts are outrageous and university management has failed students and staff by eroding working conditions and learning options. Shame.
If you would like to have your say about this or listen to other students discuss how the University should be run to save staff and students then please come to the Student ‘Counter’ Council in the Mason Theatre, this Thursday at 4pm. As students we must take action to protect our education. We have a right to good quality and accessible education. These cuts absolutely tarnish quality and accessibility. So please, come to the Student ‘Counter’ Council and fight for your right. You won’t regret it.