Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Hundreds of Otago University jobs to go

Hundreds of University of Otago staff may lose their jobs as the institution battles falling enrolment numbers, students have been told via email today.

Enrolments at the university are down 0.9% on last year.

Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Nicholson said the university was considering a number of tough decisions to ensure its future sustainability.

“This includes the possible redundancies of several hundred academic and professional staff positions,” the email to students stated.

“Applications for voluntary redundancy will open next week, and more job cuts are likely later in the year.”

In a media statement, Professor Nicholson said the university had started 2023 in a challenging financial position, saying the annual operating budget needed to be cut by around $60 million.

“It is likely that this will result in changes across the entire university,” she said.

She also cited ongoing insufficient Government funding a reason for the drastic staff cuts.

“The university is reviewing everything it does over the next 18 months.”

“We will be carefully choosing the activities we deliver, so that we can work towards fixing our current financial issues but also to allow ourselves room to innovate and invest in continuing to deliver high quality papers and programmes.”

Mayor of Dunedin, Jules Radich, this afternoon issued a statement in support of the embattled university, saying Council will do what it can to support those affected by today’s redundancy news.

“The University is at the heart of our city, and the town-gown link is one of the things that makes Dunedin unique,” the Mayor said.

“However, there comes a time when difficult decisions have to be made and I truly feel for those decision-makers and everyone affected.

“The University is best placed to decide how to do that, but It is important that the University positions itself for success, now and into the future.

“The city will do whatever we can to support everyone concerned as they work through the process,” he said.

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