Uni Adelaide leadership crisis: the cause is less cash and more vision 

Acting VC Mike Brooks assured staff last night the university is on “a sound financial footing”

The university expects to be $100m under-budget this year, due to COVID-19 costs and a drop in international enrolments (expected to be down 16 per cent in second semester).

Professor Brooks sets out savings measures, including a staff freeze, a capex “pause,” “revised” budgets and growth in short-course and micro-credential revenue. He adds the university could add to its “modest” $50m debt.

There is no mention of staff cuts.

However, he did signal a slow-down in implementing the university’s Future Making strategy. “Given the disruptive impact of COVID-19, Council has asked me to review the speed of implementation of our strategy and our priorities,” Professor Brooks said.

This will surely disappoint now on indefinite leave VC Peter Rathjen whose expansive, expensive vision for the university is as an engine of economic growth and social change.

“The great universities of the 21st century will be defined by how they can help their communities to leverage this transformational change for general benefit. With this new plan … we acknowledge that the University of Adelaide is uniquely positioned to embrace this role within South Australia, and commit to a future that sees knowledge and scholarship embedded at the heart of our future, and that of our state” the Future Making manifesto stated.

But not, it seems, just now.