TRU cuts spending despite fears over education system decline

SYLVIE PAILLARD / Kamloops Daily News
November 25, 2012 01:00 AM

Thompson Rivers University plans to save more than $1 million by cutting spending on faculties and schools despite president Alan Shaver's previous claim that it may lead to a "decline" in the post-secondary education system.

The cuts are needed after the February 2012 provincial budget revealed a $70 million cutback to post-secondary institutions over the next three years.

At the time, 25 college and university presidents, including Shaver, signed a letter to Advanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto stating it was "critical for government to understand" the cuts to grants combined with mandated pay raises would create "a strain on the operations of post-secondary institutions."

"We draw this to your attention because . . . we do not want to see a decline in a system that is seen as one of the best in the world," stated the letter.

Nonetheless, TRU's senate and budget committee are now reviewing savings plans for the 2012-13 budget that total more than $1 million.

Today's TRU senate meeting reviews budget savings plans that include cutting teaching positions and charging students for equipment the school used to provide at no extra cost.

The school of business and economics intends to save $158,000 by delaying the replacement of 1.5 equivalent faculty positions that ended this year.

"Loss of these positions will not adversely impact programming or student educational experiences," wrote Russell Currie, dean and professor, in a letter to the senate.

The faculty of arts decided to drop three positions left unfilled after two retirements and a death. The faculty of science proposed eliminating non-regular support staff and replacing retirees with sessional instructors.

Together, the two faculties provide nearly $500,000 in savings alone.

The faculty of adventure, culinary arts and tourism will save $76,000 by not replacing a retired instructor.

A school of nursing faculty vote determined that $94,000 could be saved in part by withdrawing from the schools of nursing collaborative to eliminate annual membership fees and travel expenses.

The trades department's $91,000 savings comes partly through charging students for equipment previously provided by the school and cancelling low enrolment programs like glazier, partsperson, motorcycle and power sports tech and joinery.

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