U of R leaders accused of feather-bedding
CBC News has obtained a sharply critical letter, delivered to the president of the University of Regina, that accuses leaders at the school of expanding the size of administration to the detriment of academics.
"[S]enior management has subordinated the academic mission to the administrative," the letter, signed by 202 faculty and staff, claims.
It was dated Nov. 27 and sent to Vianne Timmons, the president of the U of R.
It was released to CBC News a few days after the university voluntarily disclosed the pay packages it provides its top people, including Timmons who makes $350,000 per year and is eligible for a bonus of another $70,000.
The faculty members say they are worried administrators will protect management jobs and pay while cutting budgets that support programs for students.
A vice-president of the university, Barbara Pollock, told CBC News earlier in the week that the U of R must live within its means and offer an academic program that attracts students.
"We sure hope that we can do this without having such changes that actually threatens the academic mission," Pollock said. "That's certainly not anyone's intent."
Associate professor Susan Johnston is one of the faculty members who signed the letter to Timmons.
"There's no more fat to cut," Johnston said about the prospect of reductions in academic programs.
The letter claims administration costs at the university have grown substantially over the past seven years — especially in the area of salaries.
According to the letter, in 2004 the U of R spent $26 million on administrative salaries. By 2011, that had ballooned to $44 million, a 70 per cent increase.
"We believe that a university must be well-managed and that management expertise comes with a price tag," the letter said. "But management of a university must be in the service of the academic mission, not at its expense."
The faculty and staff called on Timmons to do four things:
- Freeze administrative hiring, salary hikes and bonuses pending an external review.
- Develop a plan to reduce administrative costs.
- Develop a plan for "restoring the university's academic mission to its proper place as the first priority of its budgets."
- Publish a budget book, with details on administrative salaries and their justifications, on an annual basis.