Sudden change shocks law students
Canterbury University law students are promising to fight plans to restructure the law faculty.
In what many are calling a sudden change of governance at its School of Law, the university is absorbing that operation into the College of Business and Economics, and the law library will permanently relocate to another site on campus.
The structural change means the School of Law is now part of the college and will be represented on the university's senior management team by the college's pro-vice-chancellor.
There will still be a dean of law.
In an email to students last night, LAWSOC president Seamus Woods and vice-president Rachel Walsh said the society was told about the change earlier in the year.
''Before we had a chance to respond or consult students, we were advised it had been taken off the table. That was the last we had heard until Monday,'' they said.
The announcement came with a second blow.
The law library will permanently relocate to a floor of the Central Library Tower at the end of the year, when the law building is vacated for strengthening and refurbishment.
LAWSOC was told in a meeting with vice-chancellor Rod Carr last night that the move was "probably" final.
Law student Hester Moore said: "Students are angry and frustrated at being kept in the dark by a panel of people whose apparent role it is to advocate for student concern.
''[We] intend to fight the decision to the end.''
She said students were talking about transferring to other law schools.
"There is a growing lack of trust between students, the university, administration and executives. We feel abandoned by the university.''
One student, who did not wish to be named, was toying with the idea of transferring to another university after losing faith in Canterbury.
"I'm paying top money for a double degree in law and arts - I expect a top service,'' he said.
"I studied in tents after the earthquakes, and I stuck by the university. The announcement was a kick in the teeth.''
The central library was already overcrowded and noisy, he said.
"We go to the law library because it is silent. There is already not enough space in the central library as it is.''
Tom Sellers said the announcement was a ''surprise to all of us''.
"There has been no student consultation ... despite the glaring truth that this has been a decision long in the making,'' he said.
''I, along with many others, feel this undermines our degrees.''
The College of Business and Economics and the School of Law will hold a student forum soon.
Carr indicated he would attend.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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