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Univ. of Victoria unions call for post-secondary funding reform amid budget cuts

Student and worker unions call on the province for change during $13 million budget cuts
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Six student and worker unions for the University of Victoria signed a letter urging the province to consider reforming post-secondary funding amid a $13 million budget cut. (Photo courtesy of UVic)

A coalitions of unions representing workers and students from the University of Victoria has issued an open letter to the province urging to address the impact of budget cuts at the university.

On Monday, April 22, six organizations representing the school signed a letter addressed to Premier David Eby and Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills Lisa Beare calling for immediate action due to the university cutting $13 million from its operating budget in the upcoming fiscal year.

According to the letter, many departments will face four to six per cent budget cuts, and some areas even more, which will have “detrimental effects on our students and workers by reducing the number of classes that can be offered and reducing supports that help instructors be the best teachers they can be.”

The representatives claim the school has an over-reliance on tuition , which made up more than 50 per cent of revenue for post-secondary institutions in Canada in 2023. The letter noted that government funding makes up just over 41 per cent of post-secondary operating revenue, a decline from the nearly 70 per cent in the early 2000s.

“This pattern of funding decreases has pushed colleges and universities in B.C. to become over-reliant on tuition fees, particularly from international students, to maintain their financial positions. This puts immense pressure on the student community. Tuition isn’t just a number; when it increases, there are concrete impacts,” noted the letter. “Our workers and students should not be punished because of the inherent instability of our current post-secondary funding model, and poor management by UVic’s senior administration.”

The organizations call on the provincial government to authorize a funding review of B.C. post-secondary education with the aim of developing a sustainable funding model, to stabilise employment to limit the impacts of reductions in international enrollment by providing bridge funding, to allow post-secondary institutions to operate with budgetary deficits until international student caps are lifted, to create better accountability mechanisms for investments and funding allocated to post-secondary institutions, and to alter the board of governors composition in the University Act to ensure better representation from within the university community.

A UVic spokesperson said they are reviewing the letter, but they are not “in a position to comment on it at this time.”

Read More: UVic cuts budget by $13M citing declining international student enrolment

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Bailey Seymour

About the Author: Bailey Seymour

After graduating from SAIT and stint with the Calgary Herald, I ended up at the Nanaimo News Bulletin/Ladysmith Chronicle in March 2023
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