Uni Sydney dean assures staff: savings scenarios aren’t plans

An internal memo asks FASS heads of schools how to reduce FTE workforce by 30 per cent

“Doing nothing is not an option. … There will be some decisions that we have no control over but we have a unique opportunity now to influence the principles and goals that underpin the financial decisions that will be made in response to the university’s financial position,” the memo to staff in a school of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences states.

The memo suggests academic staff could take one day a week as unpaid leave to, “deliver a reduction of 20 per cent,” returning to normal hours as the university’s finances improve.

A university-wide decision on staff savings is expected after student census on September 29.

However, FASS Dean Annamarie Jagose tells staff, heads of schools are “not instructed to implement 30 per cuts across the faculty.”

“Heads of School and I are, however, having discussions together and with colleagues about how we can best safeguard our institution from the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are initiating a variety of scenario-planning exercises. Given the impact of COVID-19 on our sector, it would be irresponsible not to do so. Let’s not mistake these for plans, however; they are a continuum of scenarios developed for eventualities that may not arise,” Professor Jagose adds.