THE University of Newcastle will retain two elected academic staff members on its council, after it considered halving this number to one.
The council has two elected academic staff members, one elected non-academic staff member and one elected student member.
It considered at its last meeting cutting the academic staff to one and increasing students to two, which a spokesperson said was "a mechanism to improve student engagement at an organisational level".
It resolved to leave existing arrangements in place. National Tertiary Education Union Newcastle branch president Dan Conway, who is advocating for two members from each of the three categories, said the union was pleased the council didn't endorse the proposal.
"Staff must be well represented on council and it speaks volumes if senior university leaders ever considered it appropriate to seek to minimise staff representation in this governing body," he said.
"This is particularly true at a time when the university is preparing to undertake significant change which will affect staff, students and the community.
"It is clear university councils have, over the years, adopted an overly conservative, corporate approach which has detrimentally impacted the culture of some of our most precious public institutions.
"For universities, and in particular our university, to remain a democratic, free-thinking public institutions, the voice of staff and students must be present to balance the corporate desire to generate surpluses and build unnecessary infrastructure."
Regarding NTEU's proposal, the UON spokesperson said the university "is in regular discussions with our NTEU representatives and welcomes the opportunity to discuss their ideas".
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