Management is not “The University”
The Australian Association of University Professors (AAUP) notes with interest the ongoing debate regarding the proposed University funding overhaul, including your recent article about the support for the government proposal from UTAS:
Our Council (representing 570 senior academics from 39 Australian Universities) would like to point out that the management of a university, including vice chancellors, is not “The University”, as inferred in your article and others. Rather, it is the students and their teachers, and professors in particular, who form the core of every university and often have a quite different perspective from that of the management of a university. This is certainly true in regard to the new funding proposals. The university’s professoriate has long warned against unsustainable business practices and the increase in administrative overhead and costs.
It is a worrying trend that the opinions of senior academics in Australia are rarely consulted in public debates about these policies, and especially at a time of crisis, so there is an urgent need for such consultation now. We would welcome the opportunity to provide a more nuanced picture of how the University community regards these policies.
The included cartoon summarizes the problem from a young student’s perspective. It is entitled “What will university be for 14-year-olds like me?” and the work of a 14-year-old, a member of the generation that has to be most concerned about the future of universities.
We would be grateful if you could take the above considerations into account in your reporting about this important area.