$260 million for Canterbury University

November 1st, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The University of Canterbury has received the $260 million government cash injection it desperately needs to get back on its feet.

Prime Minister John Key, along with Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce and National Christchurch East candidate Matthew Doocey, made the announcement at the Christchurch campus this afternoon.

The Government’s contribution will fund a new science centre and expand and upgrade engineering facilities, Joyce said. 

“While generally the Government expects tertiary education institutions to fund their own capital investment from their balance sheets, Canterbury institutions are dealing with a unique set of challenges. The blunt reality is that Canterbury University would find it very difficult to recover without this support.”

The university has a redevelopment plan to modernise its campus and infrastructure. The total programme is valued at $1.1 billion over 10 years.

About 25 per cent will be insurer-funded, about half funded by the university and the rest from the government support announced today.

It will be interesting to see what the final bill for the earthquake comes to. Very pleased that the Government is managing to play its part in the rebuild, and remain on a course to surplus. I recall the Greens demanding an increase in tax rates to fund the rebuild.

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Parker wants to move Canterbury University

November 26th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Olivia Carville at The Press reports:

Combining the ageing population and the unprecedented number of young people leaving Christchurch, in about 20 years more than half of the city would be over the age of 65, Parker said.

“We are on a direct path at the moment to become New Zealand’s most modern and attractive new rebuilt resthome.”

One possible solution to the “age group crisis” was to relocate the University of Canterbury back inside the four avenues.

Despite the university’s reluctance to shift, this was the most “grievously undercooked” opportunity in the rebuild.

I don’t know what it would cost to move the university, but imagine it would be a nine figure sum. In reality you would be building a brand new university. Looking at the UC annual report this would be a capital outlay of around $700 million less what you would get for the existing land and buildings.

Having the university more central isn’t a bad idea by itself, but money doesn’t grow on trees (except for the Greens). If Bob Parker really thinks it is essential, than maybe he can identify what projects he would can to pay for it.

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Forcing all Canterbury students to fund the gym

October 4th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The University of Canterbury announced:

The University Council has approved a four percent across-the-board increase in domestic tuition fees for 2013.

The University’s student services levy will also increase in 2013 from $635 to $699 but, for the first time, will include gym membership (which currently costs $120 per year).

Surveys have consistently identified the Health Centre and Recreation Centre as services highly valued by students and we have responded to this feedback by incorporating gym membership into the student services levy.

With gym membership included in the levy, students will no longer have to pay an upfront fee to use the gym.

So 100% of students will be forced to fund a gym, which a minority will use. With 19,000 students, the average student wouldn’t be able to use it even once a week – yet are forced to pay for it.

Also it is a naked money grab. The fee used to be in fact $99 for those who joined in February, and now instead each student will pay $64 more in fees.

Also many students may choose to exercise at another gym, or by going running or cycling. Why are they forced to subsidize the gym?

Here’s a novel idea. Let each student keep their own money, and they can decide for themselves what to spend it on.

This just reinforces for me that most universities have little fiscal discipline, and mis-use their income for non-core activities. Good luck convincing the Government you need more money.

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Universities not consulting students

September 14th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Press reported:

Canterbury University law students are promising to fight plans to restructure the law faculty.

In what many are calling a sudden change of governance at its School of Law, the university is absorbing that operation into the College of Business and Economics, and the law library will permanently relocate to another site on campus.

The structural change means the School of Law is now part of the college and will be represented on the university’s senior management team by the college’s pro-vice-chancellor.

There will still be a dean of law.

In an email to students last night, LAWSOC president Seamus Woods and vice-president Rachel Walsh said the society was told about the change earlier in the year.

”Before we had a chance to respond or consult students, we were advised it had been taken off the table. That was the last we had heard until Monday,” they said. …

LAWSOC was told in a meeting with vice-chancellor Rod Carr last night that the move was “probably” final.

I can’t comment on the merits of the decision (but will say that the law is about more than just business and seems an awkward fit), but the apparent lack of meaningful consultation with affected students is troubling.

I’ve been hearing stories from other campuses also, about universities not consulting students on major issues.

We live in the Internet age, where every student is online. The university knows the e-mail address of every student impacted by a particular decision on a course, faculty or even building. They should have developed or be developing an online consultation tool that allows students to have a say on decisions that impact them – especially as they fund a fair proportion of the university from their fees.

Student consultation should be in the DNA of a university.

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John Key at Canterbury University

September 23rd, 2011 at 4:21 pm by David Farrar

Some cunning engineering students at Caterbury University managed to lure the PM in to their building with a large sign in the window saying “John mate, come for a yarn with your country’s future engineers”.

The PM diverted from his schedule to do just that, and popped in. He told them a story and said they need to “get off their arse” and study harder.

Then they challenged him to pit his best security guard against their best arm wrestler – a large student known as “Maddog”. The DPS played ball and the wrestle off occured, with a fine victory to “Maddog”. The PM did quip that if he had known of the challenge he could have bought down some truly enormous officers!

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Canterbury University should show some common sense

February 5th, 2011 at 8:50 am by David Farrar

Jo Gilbert in The Press reports:

Joelee Waszczak was excitedly preparing for the start of student life with a $5000 Emerging Leaders’ Scholarship from Canterbury University and UE under her belt.

But her plans were stymied, Waszczak said, when the university told the Christchurch 18-year-old she could not enrol as she had not fulfilled all entry requirements in 2010.

She hadn’t done a couple of literacy credits my mistake, but she then gained the credits in January.

When she spoke to the university, she said she was told she would now have to apply to enrol in the second semester, which would mean she would miss the benefits of her scholarship.

The UC Emerging Leaders’ Scholarship recognises secondary school pupils for their top academic achievement, potential leadership and sporting/cultural involvement.

Aside from the $5000 fee scholarship, students are involved in an 11-month leadership programme, which starts just before the academic year begins on February 21.

“I really want to start in the first semester and I need to because of my scholarship,” Waszczak said.

“That’s why I dealt with it [the credit gap] as quickly as I did.”

You’ve got a bright high achieving student who wants to start attending university in February. There are times where the strict procedures should be waived to do the right thing, and this is clearly one of those times.

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