Student federation pans University of Manitoba budget cuts
University of Manitoba says budget has actually increased and salary costs oustrip revenue increases
The Canadian Federation of Students isn't happy about the University of Manitoba's latest budget.
The Manitoba division of the federation said cuts have degraded the education the university offers.
"Course cancellations, less course offerings, program mergers or full-time tenured faculty who voluntarily retire who are not replaced with new faculty — so what that means is that students can't graduate on time," said Michael Barkman, the chair of the Canadian Federation of Students's Manitoba division. "They can't access the courses they need to graduate, and the quality of our education is eroding."
Barkman said the cuts amount to between three and four per cent each year for the past three years.
But according to U of M officials, the budget has actually increased, and more money in total is being spent.
University officials said most of the increases cover negotiated salary increases for faculty and staff, and cuts are to a part of the budget that doesn't include salaries.
"A lot of people are expressing frustration with their ability to access the education they were promised when they came to the University of Manitoba," said Barkman. "We need to see a re-investment in public education from government and the university."
"Students want to attend university to get education to spend time being critical thinkers developing research and a new way of approaching the world — that's why we go to university. The other projects that the administration has been focusing on, especially new capital projects, isn't the number one reason," said Barkman.
Officials countered by saying the cuts are necessary for a balanced budget as negotiated salaries and benefits are increasing at a pace that outstrips revenue.
The university acknowledged the cuts are "unfortunate and do make it challenging for units, but all efforts have been made to minimize the impact of the cuts."