University of Calgary to slash payroll after post-secondary funding cuts

CALGARY — The University of Calgary is eliminating 250 management, faculty and support staff jobs following the Alberta government’s announcement last month of a post-secondary funding cut.

Staff learned of the reduction at a town-hall style meeting Monday afternoon.

University president and vice-chancellor Dr. Ed McCauley says 100 positions will be slashed through retirements, vacancies and resignations, while the remainder will be eliminated in two phases between now and mid-January 2020.

The province announced in its October’s budget that grants to the U of C would be reduced by 6.9 per cent, meaning a reduction of nearly $33 million from the school’s operating budget.

The government is also cutting all funding for the Infrastructure Maintenance Program, which means an additional loss of $22 million for the university.

University staff say they have been told to expect further cuts in next spring’s provincial budget.

“The University of Calgary faces significant budgetary challenges,” McCauley said in a public statement released after the meeting.

“We were required to make difficult decisions for this in-year budget.”

The province also announced last month that it’s lifting a freeze on tuition.

Increases will be capped at seven per cent at the institutional level and 10 per cent at the program level. The province also cut tuition and education tax credits, and the interest rate on student loans to prime plus one per cent.

The funding cuts have left students wondering how it will affect their education.

“We have significant concerns about maintaining the quality of the education here on campus and the programs and services students use to succeed while they’re here,” said University of Calgary Students’ Union president Jessica Revington

“We’re hearing from a lot of students who have significant concerns about tuition increases, about the job losses on campus, about direct impacts to student financial aid and to student loans.”

Students expect to hear more details on how their tuition will be affected in a pair of town halls after this week, the first for undergraduate and the second for graduate students.

Alberta Union of Public Employees Local 52, which represents University of Calgary support workers, plans to protest the budget cuts at a rally this Thursday. (CTV Calgary)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2019.

The Canadian Press

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