Student response to the "Management of change proposal" - DEPT OF MARINE SCIENCE.

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Dear friends, family, staff and students of the University of Otago:

As some of you may or may not know, last Friday the Department of Marine Science received a proposal from the Division of Sciences for restructuring and downsizing the department. If you wish to receive a copy of this document, please email

8 marine science staff are up for consideration of disestablishment of their academic position. 3 of these staff will lose their job. This will have a huge effect on students learning opportunities and department Research extent. All 8 considered academic staff are award-winning supervisors, researchers and teachers. At least 3 of these staff scored A's in the 2018 performed-based research fund (PBRF) and are international-calibre active researchers. Most of them have been featured in the news and University publicity in the last few years. The staff under consideration are primary supervisors to 16 PhD students and 11 masters students. Some teach across multiple departments.

This also means that the number of marine science papers on offer at Otago will be culled. Marine Science is a multi-disciplinary department. With nearly no overlap among researchers of other departments - removing one or more of these staff members would create a considerable gap in knowledge and teaching, research and student opportunities. By removing the broad expertise of our staff, as well as increasing individuals workload, it limits the capacity for our academic staff to engage in top-level interdisciplinary grants and research that increases the Universities international profiles. 

Page 12 of the proposal states that the University intends to consults with students and stakeholders, which they are yet to do so. Because of this, we have decided to act first and raise our voices. 

On behalf of the students of marine science, geology and the Otago Students Geological Society (OSGS), we urge everyone to help us raise our voices in objection to this proposal. If you want climate change action, we need to support and invest in our researchers and future climate scientists. The university has claimed they want to take strong action against climate change. This move is in total opposition to this claim. Make your voice heard and call the university out!