After trading blows in the media, Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt and University of Alberta President David Turpin have laid down their arms and are now “working together.”
Turpin came under criticism from Minister Schmidt following the passing of the university’s budget on March 16, which includes increasing international student tuition, residence rent, and the Lister meal plan, as well as a four per cent across-the-board cut to the university’s budget. Schmidt accused Turpin of “lining his pockets” while “cutting money being spent on students.”
Following Turpin’s interview on CBC radio where he expressed his shock at the personal criticisms directed to him from the minister, Schmidt said he called Turpin to apologize for his comments.
“I explained to (Turpin) that my comments were a bit overly aggressive and I apologized for the tone I used in my statements,” Schmidt said. “(Turpin) and I both agree that we need to continue to work together to make sure that the students at the University of Alberta are well served by the institution and by the government.”
Schmidt said Turpin was “appreciative” that he reached out to him.
Turpin was not present at the legislature for the budget announcement, but Board of Governors Chair Michael Phair said things are “going well” between the Minister and the Board now.
“It’s a little bit of dispute between neighbours,” Phair said. “The conversations that I’ve had and the President’s had with the Minister, things are moving along fine. And it’ll be fine if we just give it a few more days.”
Phair went on to say he’s sure there will be collaboration between the university and the Minister moving forward.
“I think there are a few ideas on the table,” he said. “Things are moving on very positively between all the parties.”