The University of Auckland has announced that $7 million in bonuses will be paid to staff. This comes after the University discovered a surplus in their 2021 financial forecast, and happened to be feeling a little bit generous that day. Tertiary Education Union president, Tina Smith, reported that UoA’s revenue acquired through student numbers and research had increased and its profit was $73.5 million.
Stuff has reported that a one-off recognition payment will be made to around 5000 eligible staff in December of this year. The amount will range from $1500 for staff who earn up to $59,999 per annum, to $1250 for those earning $100,000 or more. An unreliable source told Craccum that it has been suggested that the cash could be distributed to staff by Dawn Freshwater with money guns, from the balcony of her former Parnell Mansion.
In a statement to staff, Freshwater said the payments will replace individual performance reviews, and was the fairest and most equitable way to recognise the hard work of their staff. However, Auckland Central MP, and Gen Z spokesperson, Chlöe Swarbrick has questioned on social media why there hasn’t been increased funding for student support. “University staff deserve compensation, especially for such a challenging year. They should not be pitted against students. But news of a surplus rightfully raises eyebrows when students have been told there’s no resource for fee waivers or extra support.”
In a post to Facebook, Anamika Harirajh, President of Auckland University Students’ Association agreed staff deserve recognition and compensation. “We have heard some incredible stories of academic staff within faculties who have gone above and beyond to support students during this lockdown.” But Harirajh stated that AUSA is frustrated that no additional support will be put in place for students from this surplus. “We share the disappointment our students are undoubtedly feeling following this decision.” The University has also faced some criticism for its response to AUSA’s about the feedback from students calling for a Universal Garde Bump, and other academic support measures.