Nova Scotia

NSCAD faculty to vote on sustainability report

Faculty at Nova Scotia's cash-strapped fine arts university will vote Tuesday on the school's plan to pull it out of its multimillion-dollar financial hole.
NSCAD plans to add student fees and freeze expenses to save money. (CBC)

Faculty at Nova Scotia's cash-strapped fine arts university will vote Tuesday on the school's plan to pull it out of its multimillion-dollar financial hole.

Jayne Wark, a professor of historical and critical studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, said the faculty plan to vote against the contents of the plan.

"The plan involves very extensive revisions to structures of programs, to staffing, that will have very severe consequences which are not outlined in the plan," she told CBC News.

"What we would like to see is the plan withdrawn and revised in a more measured, moderate way."

Part of NSCAD's Framework for Sustainability plan includes a tuition fee hike to $6,000 from $5,660 to bring the university in line with provincial averages.

It also recommends introducing costs including student services, facility and studio fees, which would bring a full-time undergraduate student's tuition for one year up to more than $6,500 — about $900 more than the current rate.

There is also a proposal to reduce the school's workforce by 26 employees in this fiscal year through early retirement incentives and severance packages.

Unions, workers not consulted: faculty

Mathew Reichertz, an associate professor and union vice-president at NSCAD, said people who teach at the university were never properly consulted about the plan.

"They're concerned that the government's stringent schedule or deadline for the report created a situation where there could not be the kind of communication and consultation required for the kind of plan that was submitted," he told CBC News.

A vote against the plan won't have the power to stop it, said Reichertz, but the results could influence which changes are eventually implemented.

"This plan was never shown to the faculty unions or to the NSGEU workers or to the student union before it was submitted so there was no opportunity for input," said Wark.

NSCAD was told in December that it was required to submit its sustainability report by March, in return for a $6-million bailout over the last two years.

The report addresses recommendations made by consultant Howard Windsor last year, who said the university was in serious financial trouble and needed to examine every aspect of its operation to find ways to save.

Windsor recommended working with other schools and didn't rule out the possibility of a merger.

The Department of Labour and Advanced Education has not yet responded to NSCAD's proposed plan.

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