Massey University chancellor Chris Kelly wants the Government to be responsible for appointing a Maori representative on to university and wananga councils.
A Government bill proposes cutting the councils to no more than 12 members, and requiring for the first time that at least one of the members of each council is Maori.
Parliament's Education and Science Select Committee is considering the bill, which proposes the Government appoint four members to every council.
Mr Kelly told the committee that the required Maori appointment should come from the pool of members, who were selected by the government not tertiary providers.
He said Massey did not believe smaller councils would be better than the current councils of about 18 members.