SCU staff 'rocked and shocked' over $58m black hole

STAFF at Southern Cross University were blindsided by the bombshell announcement of a $58 million gap in its budget.

National Tertiary Education Union SCU branch representative, Kate Mitchell, said staff had been "rocked and shocked" by Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker when he made the seismic revelation via video.

Ms Mitchell said the video gave an incredibly negative view of SCU's future prospects.

"Professor Shoemaker's speech was one way, there was no opportunity for staff to ask questions and we have heard nothing since," she said.

"We want the university to survive but we want to know what's going on, we want the university to be transparent."

Ms Mitchell said the news affected around 900 staff across all the SCU campuses.

"We have around 350 staff at SCU and some 300 attended a Zoom meeting not long after."

She said the union represented all staff across general, professional and academic areas at the university and memberships were rapidly increasing.

"We call on the university to be more transparent," she said.

"There's a real cloak of secrecy around this issue.

"Staff have been ignored, Professor Shoemaker has not engaged with us at all."

Ms Mitchell said Prof Shoemaker had offered the union a financial briefing five weeks ago but cancelled the appointment.

"Adam is on $750,000 a year of public money and as far as we know has made no offer to take a cut in salary," she said.

"But he has said we will be withholding two wage increases proposed for July 2020 and July 2021 and staff voluntarily reducing their work hours."

SCU has been approached for comment.



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