The Victorian State Government is attempting to legislate to remove democratically elected student and staff representatives from the Monash University Council, and from University and TAFE Councils generally, as of the beginning of 2013.
These changes have already been publicly opposed by the University of Melbourne’s Council, and their opposition communicated to all staff in an email from the Chancellor, Elizabeth Alexander, on 25 October. Providing reasons for the Council’s decision, Ms Alexander stated:
We value the perspective these (elected staff and student) members bring to the debate of issues and the dedication they show to their responsibilities. Their presence is a practical application of Council's commitment to consultation and transparency.
Council believes strongly that the governance of universities is concerned with much more than business and financial outcomes and has as its objective the delivery of quality educational and social outcomes, which include broad social inclusion and equity. That should also extend to the membership of Council.
Unfortunately, all indications from the Monash University Administration suggest that Monash’s Chancellor, Alan Finkel, as well as the majority of Monash University Councillors currently support the changes.
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We, the undersigned students and staff at Monash University, oppose the removal of democratically elected student and staff representatives from Monash University Council.
We demand that the Monash University Council, just like the University of Melbourne, expresses publicly its opposition to the Victorian Government’s proposed legislative changes and reaffirms its commitment to democratically elected student and staff representation, acknowledging the important contribution these positions make towards educational quality and excellence.
Further, we demand that the bill before Parliament is withdrawn so as to ensure that our right to democratically elected staff and student representation on University Council will continue to be protected.