Professor Robin Pollard says Lincoln University will be ‘dead in a year’

Lincoln University’s vice-chancellor Professor Robin Pollard has refused to elaborate on why he reportedly said the university would be “dead” in a year.

On August 8, Prof Pollard told staff at a meeting “we have one year to get to surplus or we are dead”.

The comment was raised in Parliament by NZ First MP Tracey Martin last month.

Ms Martin asked Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment acting minister Louise Upston whether she was aware Mr Pollard had made the “dead” in a year comment to staff.

The university has been under dire financial pressure, after a recorded $6 million loss in the last financial year.

It is looking to slash “unpopular courses” in a bid to save millions.

In response to Ms Martin, Ms Upston said there were challenges in “returning to profitability” for the university.

Prof Pollard did not deny he made the comment but said it “was taken out of context”.

He refused to clarify what he meant and how it had been taken out of context. He would only say it was made “in the context of the university’s need for transformation”.

“Financial viability is important but any suggestion that Lincoln University only has a year to achieve viability is superficial and taken out of context,” he said.

Prof Pollard said he wanted the university to “flourish well into the future” and to make it financially viable, costs had to be reduced and revenue increased.