Staff win at Victoria University
By Jeremy Smith
MELBOURNE — Management at the Victoria University of Technology have backed down in the face of a National Tertiary Education Industry Union (NTEU) campaign against censorship. On April 12, three staff members were arbitrarily disconnected from their e-mail service after one had sent a message criticising recent management decisions about university finances.
VUT management are particularly testy about expenditure issues. A decision to contract out mail room services is being widely questioned in the light of the purchase of a corporate box at the future Docklands Stadium. It is rumoured that the box will cost $100,000 per year and will be used to entertain university clients.
The NTEU banned electronic communication on May 7 and was due to strike on May 13. Bad press added to the pressure on VUT. At a meeting on May 6, the university decided to restore e-mail access. A joint management-NTEU working party on e-mail protocols will be reconvened.