STAFF CONCERNED: Staff at Southern Cross University are “very concerned” about what they said is a culture of secrecy at the institution.
STAFF CONCERNED: Staff at Southern Cross University are “very concerned” about what they said is a culture of secrecy at the institution.

'Like the CIA': Union slams secrecy, major changes at SCU

"IT'S like the CIA here, everyone is sworn to secrecy. The university says we have to have all these redundancies and staff morale is at an all time low."

That's the view of Kate Mitchell, the branch president of the National Tertiary Education Union.

In what's continuing to be a horror year for Southern Cross University, Ms Mitchell said staff were "gobsmacked" when they learned Vice Chancellor Adam Shoemaker had resigned to take up a position at Victoria University in Melbourne.

Ms Mitchell said the NTEU was "very concerned" about the announcement by the SCU council.

"At a time with COVID-19 and SCU telling us we have to have mass redundancies, Adam Shoemaker announced the university was in trouble and sine then has been missing in action," she said.

"For the SCU council to go about these changes without informing staff is very disrespectful.

"We learned of them from the media before the university told us."

SCU has appointed Professor Tyrone Carlin as its new Vice Chancellor and president after two years as Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at the campus.

The announcement follows a briefing last June led by Chancellor Nick Burton Taylor with comments from then Vice Chancellor Adam Shoemaker and chief financial officer, Travis Walker, who confirmed SCU had a $58 million funding shortfall.

Ms Mitchell said the vast majority of staff were committed to the university and to providing a quality educational environment.

She said a lack of planning on how the university will continue to manage teaching during the pandemic was also a concern.

"Yes, staff are worried are about their own jobs but they are also worried about the impact these redundancies will have on the university, on students and the local community," she said.

"If the university wants to regain staff trust, they could start with being open about the changes they are planning."



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