NTEU UQ Branch Committee Statement on Events at UQ
STATEMENT BY NTEU UQ BRANCH COMMITTEE
As a public university, the University of Queensland must be held to the highest standards of probity and integrity.
As a union, we also expect that processes concerning the conduct of members of the university should be undertaken in accordance with the principles underlying our collective agreement, including natural justice and procedural fairness. We also recognize the need to respect the privacy of students, on both legal and ethical grounds.
We find ourselves in a situation in which, following an investigation on behalf of the Senate, the Senate of the university has accepted the resignations of the two most senior officers of the university. Members have expressed their concern that one of these resignations will not take effect for several months.
We note that an external investigation was commissioned promptly after allegations were raised, and that the Crime and Misconduct Commission has been kept apprised of the actions of the Senate. However, initial communications concerning the departure of the VC and the SDVC made no reference to an investigation. Only the disclosure of information in the media prompted the Chancellor to reveal the full reason for the departures, and we have concerns about the transparency of the process.
In a situation in which it has been acknowledged at the highest level of the university that there has been a breakdown in checks and balances, it is imperative that we have a discussion on what cultural and structural factors in the university might make such a breakdown in checks and balances possible.
Responding to concerns raised by members in recent weeks, the UQ Branch of the NTEU shall initiate university-wide dialogue in the coming transitional year on the question of what governance reform and cultural change are needed at the university.
At this time, it is worth emphasizing a principle to which NTEU members are deeply attached: a university is a community, comprising leading scholars and highly dedicated professional staff, and of course our students. The University of Queensland consists of several thousand highly-qualified, dedicated and hard-working (often too hard-working) staff. It is to this body of staff that the university owes its distinguished reputation, and it is this body of staff who will continue to make the university a great place of teaching, learning and research.