University students, faculty march to protest MRU cuts
Calgary university among others affected by post-secondary education funding decreases
Mount Royal University students and faculty marched in Calgary this morning to protest provincial cuts to the school's operating budget.
Roughly 300 people were in attendance for the rally, which ended with them handing off a petition to Alberta Premier Alison Redford's constituency office located on Richard Way in southwest Calgary.
The crowd aims to call attention to the $147 million worth of budget cuts to post-secondary education. The cuts mean a 7.3 per cent decrease in operating grants for the Alberta institutions.
MRU had to delay fall registration, while school officials figure out how to deal with the loss. Alberta's post-secondary institutions were expecting a two per cent increase in operating grants before the provincial budget came down.
"I know a lot ot people actually that are already talking about just going somewhere else and that's why I think it's very important that we have a movement like this," said protester Timothy Alai, who is taking jazz performance.
Among affected programs is the popular engineering transfer program, which will be phased out.
"It's interesting because Alberta needs more engineers yet the engineering transfer program at Mount Royal is getting suspended," said engineering professor Vahid Dehghanian.
The school's Internationally Educated Nurses Assessment program will also be discontinued. Faculty will get an idea next week about job losses and program cuts.
"I don't know what my degree's going to mean, especially since we don't know how these cuts are going to affect Mount Royal," said Desdemona Lunz, who is taking anthropology.
"I don't know what it's going to mean for me in the future and I don't like that."
Alberta's minister of advanced education says students shouldn't have to worry about tuition hikes or too many courses being cut.
Thomas Lukaszuk is scheduled to meet with the presidents of provincial post-secondary institutions Thursday.
"This is a difficult time for administrators to make those decisions," he said. "But we have to show some leadership. Government has shown some leadership, we will be reducing our leadership by 10 per cent. This is something that universities should be considering as well."
- Approximately 300 people attended the rally Wednesday morning. Initially, it was reported that "more than 100" people were there, which was the estimate at the time. The figure was updated this afternoon to reflect the newer estimate.Apr 10, 2013 5:48 AM MT