Massey University Vice Chancellor faces slew of angry students

Massey Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas faces protesting students

Massey University Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas faced angry staff and students at a protest at Massey Albany today, following recent announcements of significant proposed cuts to staff and courses.

Massey University has announced a proposal to cut 30 per cent of humanities and social sciences staff across all three campuses in Auckland, Wellington and Palmerston North. This announcement came shortly after a proposed 100 per cent cut to natural sciences at the Albany Campus, and the recent closure of the Albany School of Nursing.

Thomas addressed a room of staff and students today, saying, “If you have any ideas of how to save the university, that would be wonderful”.

Despite Massey University having a jump in student numbers during 2020 and 2021, Thomas insisted Massey’s financial woes have been around for 30 years, saying the situation was made worse by COVID-19. Thomas also claimed the University has been “underfunded by the Government”.

Vice President of Te Tira Ahu Pae (Massey University Students Association), Hennessey Wilson, says Thomas had “very little in the way of answers today”, and teachers and students are calling for her immediate resignation.

“Jan Thomas has finically mismanaged the University for six years. For her to now turn around and make significant cuts to staff and courses is completely unacceptable.”

Wilson says Thomas has “dropped the ball big time here” having spent $150million for a new science building on the Auckland campus.

“She then proceeded to close down all of the Natural Science programmes on the campus, firing teachers and abandoning students.”

The proposal for change is set to close on November 11, after which official announcements on staff and course cuts are expected to be made.