Waikato University job cuts show no value of diversity

Waikato University will see 17 jobs go by the wayside in a decision that is consistent with the trend of financially profitable education institutions that don’t care much about the individuality of students.

It is a case of news that has divided opinion, but not expectation. The long-planned medical school at Waikato University is the brain child of vice-chancellor Neil Quigley. The 17 job cuts are just the latest under his reign. Gone are the days when every subject was available in programmes that genuinely cared for students to succeed. Waikato University are building the new medical school out of want, not necessity.

In response, students have started a petition to stop the axing of programmes that will impact on the humanities. Over 2000 people signed that petition last week. The Waikato University has asked for feedback on the proposal by April 21st, but the news of a pushback has already made headlines.

The medical school will certainly do great things for Waikato University. Not the least of which is providing quality competition for the likes of Otago University, but it hasn’t come out of their own pocket. Sir Owen Glenn pledged $5million toward the school, sparking concern from Labour MP Chris Hipkins who questioned if Waikato University needed a medical school.

More doctors are needed in the Waikato, especially in the smaller rural areas. The Waikato DHB agree, and have joined with the University to make the project a reality.

All the above is true, but it will come at a cost, and that’s the saddest part of this story. Institutions need diversity, and for a long time, Waikato University has had a strong and respected music programme. This respect may not generate into substantial revenue at times, but it isn’t a reason to significantly reduce options for students who pay fees, therefore adding to the surplus that Waikato University already posted last year.

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