'Job losses inevitable’ as SCU scrambles to save its future

A BRIEFING from the senior leaders of Southern Cross University has left some staff feeling angry and frustrated.

The one-hour briefing was led by Chancellor Nick Burton Taylor with comments from Vice Chancellor Adam Shoemaker and chief financial officer, Travis Walker.

It comes after the troubled university "shocked and rocked" staff earlier this month when news emerged of a $58 million funding shortfall.

The briefing was held at SCU's Gold Coast campus.

Prof Shoemaker announced a number of proposed changes that aimed to "transform" the university.

"Some restructuring and job losses will be inevitable; however we will do everything possible to safeguard the positions of staff," he said.

The three next steps are:

A staff vote will be held determine if university staff will forego two schedule pay rises of 1.4 per cent each this July and next July. Negotiations are under way with the unions

Staff requests wishing to reduce their hours from 100 per cent to 90 per cent will be fully supported

The new Academic Model and Research Plan reforms have been endorsed by the university Council and will commence.

National Tertiary Education Union SCU branch representative, Kate Mitchell, said staff were unhappy, disappointed and cynical.

She said many of the questions staff had submitted electronically were moderated heavily and not answered.

"This is a very worrying time for everybody," Ms Mitchell said.

"Not just at the university, but in Lismore, across the local campuses and the region because the impact of staff losing jobs will have a huge impact on the local economies."

Ms Mitchell said part of staff's frustration came from the executives of the institution not being transparent and open.

"It's a worry that they only solution they seem to be able to come up with it to cut staff pay," she said.

"Not their pay of course, although they did say that they will probably forgo their bonuses this year."

The union has already requested a more detailed meeting with university executives.

Another issue Ms Mitchell said was concerning was that the university announced it would be moving to a Six Study Period academic calendar, which she said staff felt was unsatisfactory.


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