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$16m shortfall for next fiscal year an outrageous reversal of gov’t policy, says union

BURNABY— The government’s announcement that university funding is being cut by $16 million province wide is an outrageous betrayal that makes a mockery of the Campbell Liberals’ 2005 election platform that promised to make higher education a priority for B.C., says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

The government claims it is addressing ‘high priority’ programs at colleges and trade schools with these cuts. It is totally outrageous, and cynical in the extreme, to pit one system against the other,” CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill said today.

Nor are colleges exempt from the knife. At Camosun, for example, we know that in addition to base funding cuts, the planned growth funding the college was anticipating for 112 new FTEs has been withdrawn.”

O’Neill added that funding cuts of nearly $9 million for UBC and $4 million for SFU do not address the thousands of student spaces universities have added. The government’s change of direction trashes its own commitment to three-year funding frameworks, which allowed institutions to plan for the longer term so that funding is more stable, he said.

Before the last election, Gordon Campbell said that making B.C. the best-educated jurisdiction in North America was one of his ‘Five Great Goals for a Golden Decade,’” said O’Neill.

Well, so much for that promise. The government has given very little notice, and absolutely no indication of what this will mean in terms of layoffs, reduced course offerings, and even cancellations. These cuts will leave our universities scrambling to make up for the shortfall. That’s one hell of a rotten egg to lay on the public just before Easter weekend.”

Contact:  Barry O’Neill, CUPE BC president: 604.340.6768
  Roseanne Moran, CUPE Communications: 604.291.1940