University of Calgary takes another lap around the metaphorical toilet bowl on its way down.

Approximate Reading Time: 2 minutes
I put this together some months ago, but in light of recent events, I felt like posting this now.
The U of C is going through another round of DEEP cuts.
The primary reason for the cuts, says Weingarten, is poor market performance caused by the economic downturn which has adversely affected return on endowment funds used to support various programs and the Universities Academic Pension Fund.
The endowment fund has shrunk by $40.4 million, since hitting a high last year of $411 million.
“A significant portion of the university budget, approximately 60 per cent, pays for the salaries and benefits of our employees,” wrote Weingarten. “Given this reality, there is simply no possibility of ensuring that a balanced budget, once achieved, is sustainable unless we reduce our number of support and academic staff.”
By law the university is not allowed to carry a deficit.
Weingarten said he anticipates they will have to reduce the number of staff by up to 200 people by the fall and it’s likely there will be more reductions later.
The president said the actual numbers will depend on many factors, such as future government grants, tuition levels, endowment performance, salary and benefit settlements.
Anne Stalker, president of the U of C Faculty Association, which represents 1,700 professors, librarians and counsellors, said staff members are “obviously very worried” about the job cuts and the long-term affect on programs.
“It makes it a less pleasant place to work,” Stalker said. “They also think they(university brass)haven’t been thinking ahead. They should have planned more so it didn’t take everybody by surprise.”
Stalker also expressed concern that with an increase in students next year, there may not be enough money to be able to offer them what they want.
However, Colleen Turner, vice-president, external relations, said strategic decisions have been made in the areas where there will be increases in students.
“We feel there is room to increase the number of students without affecting the quality of the students’ education,” she said.
Turner said the vast majority of staff cuts will be in the support services area, such as human resources, finances, information technology and administration, based on extensive strategic reviews.
Faculty cuts so far, she added, have generally been made already through attrition and leaving vacancies unfilled. “The administration reviewed and looked at all support services on campus to reduce the cost of delivering services and allow us to be more efficient and cost effective,” she said.
The greatest job losses are expected to be among Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which represents some 4,265 university staff in operations, trades, advisory and technical positions.
“Of course, we don’t like it. Our members losing their jobs is a concern of ours,” said AUPE president Doug Knight.
“The university has put a lot of their shortfalls on last year’s budget. A lot of the money lost is from the worldwide financial crisis, where it was inevitable something was gonna break. Their funding shortfall is because of endowments and they really shouldn’t be relying on endowment funding.”
Knight said this situation is likely not just happening at the U of C, but other post-secondary institutions and at the provincial government itself.
Stalker, meanwhile, criticized the process being taken during the summer without consultation from the university budget committee.
“The issues raised here have nothing to do with investments being way down,” she said. “You don’t know if this is a short-term blip or long-term issue. Some departments are so bare bones that, to them, the cuts will have great implications.”
Source: Calgary Herald &

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