James Cook University is supporting Tuesday’s (August 20) national day of action to protest the $2.3 billion cuts to higher education announced by the Federal Government earlier this year.
Organised by the National Union of Students (NUS), the protest is expected to involve both staff and students at universities across the country.
JCU students who wish to take part will be advised that they can but they will need to catch up on any course material they might miss.
“In addition, those students for whom participation is assessed should speak with their lecturers in advance to advise them they will be absent and make arrangements to attend alternative tutorials that week, should this be necessary,” a spokesperson for the University said.
“Lecturers will make efforts to be as accommodating as possible of any student requests for alternative arrangements.”
The national president of the NUS, Jade Tyrrell, wrote to JCU’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Sandra Harding, seeking support for the day of action.
In response, the University said that JCU and the Vice Chancellor were “very supportive of students participating” but the University was not in a position to offer a blanket exemption from academic penalty for doing so, as it will not be cancelling any classes on that day.
Professor Harding used her first address to the National Press Club as chair of the tertiary peak body Universities Australia to attack the cuts earlier this year.
“Funding cuts severely hamper not only the aspirations of our students, teachers and researchers but the country’s ambitions to be in the very top rank of educated nations with all of the social and economic benefits this provides,” she said.
The impact on JCU is expected to be more than $26 million with a flow-on effect for years after the initial cuts are implemented.
The NUS has said that the cuts “will be devastating for students, staff and universities as a whole”.
Issued: August 18, 2013
JCU Media: Jim O’Brien 07 4781 4822 or 0418 892449