UNB faculty union calls for end of austerity measures
Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers reports to board chair Kathryn McCain
The faculty union at the University of New Brunswick is telling the chair of the university's board of governors a change in direction is needed at the institution.
The Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers was responding to chair Kathryn McCain's letter to students and staff in June that called for an end to public criticism of university administration and improved dialogue.
"We don't think that we're anywhere near a position to just put the past behind us and move forward because the past will just repeat itself," said AUNBT president Miriam Jones.
"There hasn't been any real examination of how we got where we are now and I think if we just try and paper over the cracks in the wall we're going to end up in the same place very shortly."
In January, the AUNBT staged its first ever strike. The bitter dispute cancelled three weeks of classes before a deal was reached to resume classes and resolve outstanding issues — including the faculty's demand for pay levels comparable to similar sized universities — through arbitration.
Jones is critical of the university's continued austerity measures. She says the university has accumulated surpluses in 12 of the last 13 years and put "tens of millions" of dollars into restricted accounts the administration says is to be used for "risk management."
"We're a public institution," said Jones. "We don't have shareholders. We don't need to be stockpiling money.
"Our students are our shareholders and they're getting short-changed."
Jones is also calling for a return to "collegial governance" of the university.
"This administration has been routinely undercutting collegial governance and becoming more and more top down over the years," said Jones. "More and more modelled on a for-profit corporation rather than a not-for-profit public educational institution.
"I think we need to go back to our roots."
McCain is out of the country and could not be contacted by CBC to respond to Jones's concerns.