VANCOUVER—Delegates attending CUPE BC’s annual convention have passed an emergency resolution calling on the BC Liberal government to restore promised funding levels to colleges and universities and give more support to post-secondary education.
CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill says that the late-breaking cut to operating grants of 2.6 per cent across the board for all colleges and universities, announced in mid-March, came out of the blue. “While numbers are still being crunched, the estimated effect of this cut could be $50 to $60 million in 2008-09 and beyond – with no notice. And for institutions, who were in the process of finalizing their budgets under the assumption that government would deliver what it promised in the February 2008 provincial budget and the three-year funding plans, this is creating chaos.”
O’Neill says that the irony of having to deal with cuts to important institutions that are an anchor in many communities during the convention, which is focusing on the theme of “Building Sustainable Communities”, was not lost on delegates. “What we have is really short-term thinking here – exactly the opposite of what is needed for strong and sustainable communities. A politically-driven ‘quick fix’ instead of an open and reliable commitment to students, staff and others in the post-secondary education system.”
CUPE BC will be talking with government officials to seek an end to the cuts and discuss ways to get relief for colleges and universities struggling with enrolment and infrastructure pressures. “Our locals will also be approaching their elected representatives about stopping these cuts and finding stability,” says O’Neill.
CUPE’s background information on the current budget situation.