INDEPENDENT NEWS

Irving's Resignation Leaves Unresolved Problems

Published: Tue 21 Dec 1999 12:51 AM
The resignation of Professor Michael Irving as Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington will not solve all of the problems facing the institution, although it is a good start according the Chris Hipkins, incoming President of the Students' Association.
"There are a number of wide-ranging issues that will need to be tackled in the new year. The breakdown in staff and student morale is a particular concern, and swift action will need to be taken to ensure the reputation Victoria is maintained," Mr. Hipkins said.
"It's also a good time for the University as a whole to re-assess the restructuring process that has been adopted to date. I have real concerns about the contracting out of core University functions and the ever increasing emphasis on education as a commodity to be purchased and sold,"
Mr. Hipkins said there should be a renewed emphasis on quality at the University. "It seems to me that all the talk of marketing and being student-driven is hollow rhetoric unless the quality of education that is provided is up to scratch. Increased spending on central administration coupled with voluntary redundancies for academics has done nothing to further the quality of teaching and learning at Victoria University,"
"On a wider scale there is evidently a need for the new government to look at the relationship between University Councils and their Vice-Chancellors. Currently too much power is devolved to the Vice-Chancellor as Chief Executive and this can lead to the University community becoming disenfranchised from the decision making process," Mr. Hipkins said.
Mr. Hipkins stressed it was important not to use Professor Irving's departure as a scapegoat, as there were wider issues that needed to be examined. "And we shouldn't overlook the positive things he has done either. Professor Irving's work to rectify the shortage of student accommodation at Vic and increase student access to computers should be commended. While we certainly did disagree on many issues, credit should still be given where it is due," Mr. Hipkins concluded.
ENDS
Contact: Chris Hipkins, President-elect
Phone (04) 473 8566 or (021) 707 927
Email: chris.hipkins@vuw.ac.nz

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