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University of Otago proposes cutting 'several hundred' jobs

Apr 20, 2023

Several hundred University of Otago staff may be made redundant and further job cuts are likely as the university grapples with a drop in enrolments.

Acting vice-chancellor Professor Helen Nicholson told students in an email the university was considering a number of hard decisions to ensure it was sustainable into the future.

"This includes the possible redundancies of several hundred academic and professional staff positions. Applications for voluntary redundancy will open next week, and more job cuts are likely later in the year," she said in the email.

The acting vice-chancellor also signalled possible changes to what was on offer at the university, but sought to assure current students they would not miss out.

"You will be able to complete the qualification and papers you are currently enrolled in, even if there are future changes to the papers and programmes we offer," she said in the email.

"Changes like these, affecting staff and students, our academic offerings and other activities, are not made lightly.

"We will proceed carefully and expect to be able to share more information in the next couple of months."

She cited the ongoing failure of government funding to keep up with rising costs as another reason for the tough decisions.

"The university is reviewing everything it does over the next 18 months.

"We will be carefully choosing the activities we deliver, so that we can work towards fixing our current financial issues but also to allow ourselves room to innovate and invest in continuing to deliver high quality papers and programmes."

Main image (RNZ/Tess Brunton): Hundreds rallied for better pay and working conditions at the University of Otago on 11 October, 2022.

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