The University of Alberta’s budget will be cut by four per cent next year, followed by 2.5 per cent cuts for the following two years.
The four per cent across-the-board cut to the budget, which was announced earlier this fall, passed at the Board of Governors on March 16. Only, Students’ Union president Marina Banister, undergraduate Board of Governors representative Mike Sandare, and Graduate Students’ Association president Babak Soltannia voted against the budget.
TIn addition to the four per cent cut for the 2018-2019 year, a 2.5 per cent cut is planned for the two years afterwards.
Plans for the cut were first announced back in late October as a way for them to tackle the university’s $14 million structural deficit. At the time, the university administration said they’ll be spending the next few months discussing the cuts with various deans from different faculties.
During the meeting, university president David Turpin said that since faculties will also have to pay for salary increases, the cuts for 2018-2019 are closer to 5.5 per cent. He added that the cuts need to be done in order to get the institution on the path of financial sustainability.
“The challenge is that we have to think of future generations and what we’re going to have to say to them we have to deal with these financial issues,” he said. “We need to start dealing with them now.”
Claudette Tardif, a new member of the board, said she understands how the cuts will hurt faculties. Tardif was dean of Faculté Saint‑Jean from 1995 to 2003.
“As a former dean, I must say that the budget reductions… will be a real hardship for some faculties,” she said. “As a dean, I wouldn’t know how to cope with that particular burden.”
Tardif then asked Provost Steve Dew if there has been any discussion on how the cuts would affect different faculties facing different financial circumstances. Dew said some faculties will have to tap into reserve funds, as well as look into staff reductions, program eliminations, and into other revenue streams.
“It is going to be a rough one to work through,” he said.
This article was updated on March 16 at 3:24 p.m.