As the full horror of the UWS cuts strategy becomes apparent, university management have disappeared into a bomb-proof bunker in a secret location in Werrington North. No more smiling roadshows. No more meet and greets. No more “Our People 2020”. No more grand and glorious educational vistas. No more are you OK days. They’ve read the results of the MyVoice survey. They know how much their people disapprove of them. The feeble reassurances of the sycophants and yes-people they surround themselves with now ring rather hollow. They know this is no longer a happy consensual project.

So from the safe confines of the war room they coordinate a scorched earth policy the like of which the university has never seen. Outside their smiling, power-dressed, clip-board carrying shock troops are picking off the vulnerable one-by-one. Down goes the Student Learning Unit. Down goes Agriculture. Down goes Economics. Down goes Italian, Arabic, Spanish, Music, Creative Writing and so on. More dreaded ‘managing change’ documents are in the pipeline. Voluntary redundancies will be followed by compulsory redundancies. They are demanding workloads higher than those performed virtually anywhere in the country. And all of this at the start of Enterprise Bargaining, which, given the current acrimony, is likely to drag on for a very long time.

Most of us know the basics of the story. Those who are paid a king’s ransom to run the university – and do so with the powers of a medieval potentate – gambled on a a big increase in student numbers and embarked on a huge building and expansion program based on that. When enrollments declined this year they told the Schools to bear the full brunt of the losses, saying it was our fault: our courses have failed to attract sufficient interest. But were we ever consulted about the expansion strategy in the first place? I don’t remember being asked. We already have the highest ratios of students to staff of any university in Australia. So, help me Rhonda, how have we failed again?

The truth of course, is that we haven’t failed. There is no real crisis and don’t believe those who tell you there is. As our correspondent Ex UWS Academic academic points out at UWS we suffer obscenely high administration costs, and they are projected to grow. The proportion of income that trickles down to the schools was 43.1% in 2011, 38.2% this year and 37.6% in 2014. They suck the marrow out of your bones. In the same period the income going to the centre rises from 16.9% to 20.4%. Where’s the equity in that? There is plenty of money to save all the affected programs and units but they refuse to break their stride, to curb the obscene bureaucratic excess, to stop gorging on the public purse. Were they executives of private companies our leaders would have been expected to fall on their swords by now. No corporation would tolerate such a stuff up from their chief executives.

But here at UWS our great leaders stride forward into the future, blending the figures like they blend the learning, obfuscating and double-thinking like all good dictators. And the only thing that comforts me, as a I see good colleagues picked off by the smiling assassins, is that it must be very lonely in the bunker. Bunkers are lonely places.