28 Jun 2018

Union accuses Auckland University of 'silencing' music staff

From Upbeat, 11:11 am on 28 June 2018

The Tertiary Education Union is accusing University of Auckland of “silencing” music staff.

The university has been asked to "immediately stop silencing debate at the University of Auckland" in a letter from TEU national president Sandra Grey.

Tertiary Education Union national president Sandra Grey.

Tertiary Education Union national president Sandra Grey. Photo: Supplied

The letter, which is dated 22 June, follows a consultation then restructure of the university’s School of Music resulting in redundancies and redeployments of five staff.

Among affected staff are Professor Uwe Grodd and cello lecturer Edith Salzmann.

Uwe Grodd.

Uwe Grodd. Photo: University Of Auckland

The TEU letter, addressed to Vice Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon, says “silencing of debate” contradicts the mission and policies of the university, New Zealand legislation and custom – including the Treaty of Waitangi, and domestic and international conventions “fundamental to tertiary education”.

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Professor Stuart McCutcheon Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

School of Music staff contacted by RNZ Concert have said they cannot speak out for fear of consequences, including loss of responsibility.

Students also say they have been silenced.

During the consultation process the School of Music Students’ Association submitted their thoughts to the restructure board.

In the submission, president of the association Leo Jaffrey says “students have been told that their opinions on this subject will be actively disregarded … it is clearly tantamount to a systematic attempt to prevent dissenting student voices from providing any input.

“Students consider the university’s assertion that their opinions are irrelevant to this process offensive.

“Without students, there is no university.”

The University of Auckland has been contacted for comment.