IMPACT: Jacki Brown (front), Angus Goozee, Simon Maspero and Benjamin Bullivant (President of the Student Association at SCU) are unhappy about cuts to tertiary education funding announced by the federal government over the weekend.
IMPACT: Jacki Brown (front), Angus Goozee, Simon Maspero and Benjamin Bullivant (President of the Student Association at SCU) are unhappy about cuts to tertiary education funding announced by the federal government over the weekend. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Uni funding cuts turmoil

BOTH the vice chancellor of Southern Cross University and the Lismore SCU student union, LEXUS, have condemned the cuts of higher education funding announced by the Federal Government over the weekend.

Vice Chancellor of Southern Cross University, Professor Peter Lee, described the cuts as short sighted and contrary to government goals to increase participation and said he was "very much" upset and baffled by the new changes, which will see the Federal Government stripping funding from tertiary education to fund the Gonski reforms to the public school system.

"Taking away $900 million in university funding over 2014 and 2015 will impact universities everywhere. Changes such as the conversion of student start-up scholarships into a loan will hit the very students the government professes it wants to encourage," Professor Lee said.

"Everyone understands the difficulty of balancing their budget - at some point we have all faced that, some people in our community more than others. But investing in half your child's education by taking it from the other half is ludicrous.

"The logic of increasing funding to schools - provided the states actually agree to contribute - but then reducing the ability of universities to take the students who benefit from the investment in school funding is baffling."

He also said he would support and, in fact, encourage students to voice their outrage to the Federal Government.

National President of the National Union of Students, Jade Tyrrell, said the announcement spells the "worst funding blow for universities" in nearly 20 years. President of LEXUS, Benjamin Bullivant, said he condemned the changes and encouraged university students to speak out and stand up for their right to a quality education.

"Students at university will feel the weight of this new austerity through brutal cuts to our education - courses, quality and support will suffer," he said.

He said that they will be joining student unions around Australia in their protests when opportunities arise, and will be holding music performances tomorrow in the Lismore campus plaza in condemnation of the changes.



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