Outgoing University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings has hit back at Australian Greens education spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi.
Professor Wellings said parts of the NSW Senator's letter to him urging UOW to restore its Academic Senate, was "based on a number of false premises".
Dr Faruqi wrote on Wednesday she was "seriously alarmed by the decision to dismiss members of the Academic Senate and put in place a widely-criticised and undemocratic model".
In his letter of response, Prof Wellings said under the University's Act, Council had the authority to decide who sits on Academic Senate.
"Council took its decisions, completely within normal processes, at the end of a 14 month exercise," Prof Wellings said.
"Council resolved to reduce the size of the Academic Senate to 50 members.
"This brings this large sub-committee of Council into alignment with equivalent bodies at other universities around Australia.
"Academic Senate was not dismissed. It remains one of the largest committees in the University.
"As Council noted in April, Academic Senate has an important role in maintaining the university's academic standards."
The outgoing VC added the process produced a number of positive outcomes including:
- A smaller Academic Senate more focussed on its core business;
- An increase in the number and representation of students on Academic Senate;
- An increase in the proportion of elected persons on Academic Senate (up about 11.5%);
- A broader representation of academic staff;
- An increased quorum now set at a majority of members (previously this was much less than 50%);
- A guideline on gender representation; and
- A role for equity and inclusion; to sit aside education, research and international.
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