Students support staff campaign for jobs

Around 70 students walked out of their classes at the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University on 9 October to oppose plans to cut the jobs of about 70 academic and student services staff.

Chanting “No cuts, no fees, no corporate universities”, the students gathered outside the student union building to sign a banner with messages to vice-chancellor John Dewar.  According to the university, its decision to cut jobs is motivated by the federal government’s proposal for the deregulation of university fees.

First year arts student Vari Farley told Red Flag: “What got me involved in this movement was the cuts to visual arts. We’re losing lectures, we’re losing administrative staff, and elective students are being merged with major students, which is unfair on both the lecturers and the students.”

Physiotherapy student Lisa Honeychurch said: “The thing I hate is that we don’t know what is going to happen. They’ve told me we’re going to lose staff in our department, and we can’t actually afford to. The people they’re talking about cutting already have a full teaching load.”

According to Natasha Joyce, protest organiser, “The university executive kept making these announcements while students were on holiday and students are revved up because they’re only just starting to work it out.

“Staff, on the other hand, have already been banging on about this for 12 months and they’re exhausted, so we’ve got to give them a boost.”

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Elliot Downes is the La Trobe Student Union education officer-elect

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