SCU morale sinks: survey

SCU is the centre of negotiations for causal and fixed-term staff.
SCU is the centre of negotiations for causal and fixed-term staff.

The survey results follow announcements in September by Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor Peter Lee that the university may cut up to 50 jobs over the next financial year, after already accepting 34 staff redundancies in 2013.

The online survey, posted by NTEU branch members on October 17, received responses from 41% of staff before it closed at noon on October 23.

Of those who responded, 97% said morale was worse across the university than a year ago.

NTEU branch president Kate Mitchell said: "342 people said it was worse for them personally, 349 people said it was worse for staff in their work area, and 97% or 363 people said they felt it was worse for staff across the university".

Ms Mitchell said links to the survey were sent out to the university's all-staff forum.

"Many of the people were not union members," she added.

"What (the survey) says is that staff are terribly dissatisfied with the current executive and the way that decisions are made."They don't give us any detail of their plans; they don't give us any long-term 'how are we going to get over this crisis'.

"The staff feel quite insulted at the attitude of the executive. The staff ... are really quite committed to the institution, we want to see it thrive, and we feel we should be part of that future."

Ms Mitchell said that SCU's reason for existence was to provide students who lived in Lismore and Coffs Harbour regions to stay in the area if they wanted to go to university.

"They've always had the option to go up to the Gold Coast to uni if they wanted," she said.

"It seems that the push is all on only for the Gold Coast," she said, referring to the major expansion of SCU's Gold Coast campus. Vice Chancellor Lee was not available for comment, although in a September 22 letter addressed to the NTEU he claimed the union had "engaged in a smear campaign" and employed "misinformation and misleading statements".



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