2 Jul 2023

Nearly 200 University of Otago staff apply for redundancy

6:23 am on 2 July 2023
Clock tower building on campus

Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The University of Otago is working through 189 redundancy applications as it deals with a drop in enrolments.

Earlier this week, the government announced $128 million to help cash-strapped universities.

The University of Otago said it was reassessing what this meant for its future plans, but voluntary redundancies would go ahead.

The university has earlier said due to declining enrolment and an expected deficit budget, its annual operating budget needed to be reduced by about $60m.

So far, 35 redundancies have been approved and 27 have been declined out of 189 staff members who expressed interest.

Most staff who have chosen redundancy are expected to wrap up by the end of the year.

"In situations where students could be affected, the university is consulting with (the) Otago University Students' Association, as well as informing students promptly of upcoming management of change proposals," the university said.

"We have made it clear that all current students will be able to complete their qualifications."

The equivalent of 10 full-time positions have been cut, five of them in languages and cultures, four in the shared services division and one in financial services.

The German course has been cut along with majors and minors in Asian Studies and European Studies, but the university said both were partially replaced in the global studies programme.

"Te Ao o Rongomaraeroa, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies is working through a management of change process currently.

"This involves a consultation process with staff and students and if proposals are approved, will result in some papers being reduced and roles disestablished.

"In April, we announced the Bachelor of Applied Science and its Honours programme will discontinue and the vast majority of the subjects will be transferred to the Bachelor of Science.

"Existing students will be able to complete their current course of study and be able to graduate with these degrees. There are no job losses associated with this change."

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