Universities not consulting students

The Press reported:

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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