I was pretty amazed to hear the news that Otago Uni has become one of the major sponsors of the Otago Highlanders rugby team.
Universities should be focusing on student achievement and investing in good quality public education and research, not on corporate sponsorship.
The Super 15 rugby competition is a corporate competition. It’s inappropriate for public universities to be spending public and student money on sponsorship in that way, especially when it has nothing to do with the academic focus of the university.
It paints a bit of a sad picture about the state of tertiary education in New Zealand. Universities are underfunded and they’re being forced to make marketing decisions like this to help raise their profile and boost their enrolment numbers.
Meanwhile, university fees at Otago are going up year on year. It’s the students and graduates that are feeling the brunt of this.
Our tertiary sector needs to well-resourced and focused producing high quality research and on the needs of students, not on rugby.