The fight to restore University of Wollongong's Academic Senate is heating up.
Australian Greens education spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi is the latest to hit out at management's decision to make changes to UOW's principal academic body.
The NSW Senator wrote to outgoing Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings on Wednesday, saying she was "seriously alarmed by the decision to dismiss members of the Academic Senate and put in place a widely-criticised and undemocratic model".
"It will have the effect of radically shifting the balance of power in the university away from staff and students elected by and accountable to their peers," Dr Faruqi wrote.
Her comments come after staff labelled the move a 'breach of trust".
Last week a member of the Academic Senate, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Mercury dismissing the Senate, and early termination of elected members without proper consultation was a breach of the electoral rules of the Senate.
A UOW spokesperson said a revised membership and composition model for the Senate was approved by the University Council at its meeting on April 9.
But Dr Faruqi nevertheless urged the university to reconsider its decision.
"Universities should be places run by and for their staff and students. Across the country, in recent years, we have seen growing autocratic decision making and corporatisation at our universities," she wrote.
"Decision making power has been sapped from elected staff and students, and placed in the hands of unelected representatives and administrators. UOW has now taken one further step down this ill conceived path."
UOW students have also slammed management's move to dismiss the Academic Senate.
"The dissolution of the Senate has been done to crush opposition to the incoming attacks being levelled at staff and students," Wollongong Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) education officer Dylon Tomasi said.
"Management has already pushed through a two year pay freeze, staff department restructures and almost 200 redundancies, but more is on the cards."
A campaign to fight back against the "university's continuing attacks on staff conditions" has been launched.
The UOW Fight Back campaign is a coalition of staff and students who demand a reversal of all existing cuts, and an immediate halt to staff cuts.
The campaign is also demanding conversion of casual staff to permanent roles, and is opposed to a permanent transition to online classes.
"Any attack to staff conditions is an attack on students' conditions also. This campaign recognises that and is pushing for a staff and student led resistance," student organiser Sean McLachlan said.
The campaign will host a public forum on May 12.
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