Profs Question Government Justification of Budget Cuts

Created 3 April 2008 06:04

VANCOUVER – Government’s attempt to justify recent budget cuts at BC public universities as merely the result of a budgetary reallocation doesn’t tell the whole story according to university professors.

“Funds for new student spaces are being reallocated, but that only explains 20% of the university budget reductions,” said Chris Petter, President of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC. “About 80% of the reduction is an actual cut to the funds we were promised in the three-year budget plan.”

According to calculations by the professors’ group, the total value of the budget reductions to the province’s six public universities for 2008/09 amounts to $30.2 million. Of this amount, $5.9 million is due to a reduction in the number of new student spaces to be offered at the universities.

“Even though the total spending for post-secondary education is up by 4% over last year, the actual amount of money that public institutions will receive per student has dropped by more than 3%,” Petter said. “Once again, we’re being asked to do more with less and it’s going to negatively affect students.”

Calculations based on the provincial government budget documents show that per student funding was $9,145 in 2007/08 and will drop to $8,852 in 2008/09. This calculation does not take into account the further erosion in funding due to inflation.

“If the provincial government were to maintain the 2007/08 funding level for the coming year, there should be an additional $59 million dollars provided to the province’s universities and colleges,” Petter said. “We hope that the government will reconsider its rash, last-minute cut to post-secondary budgets. It’s time to stop putting political spin on this problem and actually fix it.”

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.

Details of CUFA BC’s Calculations