Tertiary students and staff say they will fight government plans to cut their statutory right to a place on the governing councils of universities and wananga.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has proposed cutting council membership from a maximum of 20 people to between eight and 12.
Mr Joyce says the councils need to be smaller so they can make decisions faster.
He says the institutions themselves should decide if students and staff should be represented.
However, student leaders say that is not good enough. They say their place at the table, and that of staff, should be guaranteed.
Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association president Rory McCourt says the Government is showing it does not value students.
The Tertiary Education Union says the proposal treats universities and wananga as if they are businesses, and their wider role in society will be lost if councils are cut back.
However, Canterbury University is already seeking a smaller council, saying it wants to improve its decision-making by going from 20 members to 12, including staff and student representatives.