Profs “Incredibly Disappointed” by News of Budget Reductions

Created 20 March 2008 07:03

VANCOUVER — Unexpected reductions in university operating budgets for the next fiscal year will negatively impact students says the organization representing BC’s public university professors.

“We are incredibly disappointed to learn, less than two weeks before the start of our new fiscal year, that we will not be getting all the money government said we would,” said Chris Petter, President of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia. “One way or another, students will feel the negative effects of these reductions.”

Details about the budget reductions are still unfolding. While it appears that the overall funding to the universities will increase in 2008/09, the total funding will be approximately 2.6 per cent less than was expected. This will be a permanent cut to the base operating grants for the institutions.

“Offers of admissions have already gone out to this year’s high school graduates, and we’re in the midst of interviewing new profs to start this summer,” Petter noted. “The universities have created new student spaces, we’ve mounted new programs, we’ve done everything government has asked of us, and now we get blindsided by this budget reduction. It is irresponsible for government to drop this bomb in our laps. This mess has to be fixed.”

These budget reductions also call into question the “access and excellence” strategy proposed in the Campus 2020 report released 11 months ago.

“It’s hard to see how we can possibly move forward with the vision set out in the Campus 2020 report in light of these cuts,” said Petter. “It’s beginning to look like the $1 million spent on the review plus the thousands of hours spent by institutions, organizations and individuals preparing and presenting briefs has been a complete waste.”

CUFA BC represents 4,300 university professors, instructors, academic librarians and other academic staff at SFU (Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey campuses), UBC (Vancouver and Kelowna campuses), UNBC (Prince George, Terrace, Fort St. John and Quesnel campuses), UVic and Royal Roads University.

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For further information, please call Robert Clift, CUFA BC Executive Director, at (604) 817-1649.