Budget crunch looms: Prez

In NewsLeave a Comment

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By Jordan Press

Ryerson may have to make some tough cuts in next year’s budget, and faculty salaries are part of the problem, says university Persident Claude Lajeunesse.

Lajeunesse said the university will have to look for areas to cut spending if the provincial government doesn’t compensate the school for any revenue losses a tuition freeze might cause.

“It means we have to do cuts to the university,” Lajeunesse said. “And why? Well, our faculty salaries are increasing by seven per cent next year.

“We don’t print money, and if we don’t get the revenues from the government — we don’t get it from the students — then we have to cut our expenses.”

The university’s budget is about $300 million this year, and salaries account for more than 60 per cent of operating expenses. In the 2002-2003 budget (the most decent numbers available), faculty and administration salaries totaled close to $140 million of the $221.5 million in expenses.

Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, faculty are supposed to receive a pay raise over the next few years. The average Ryerson professor’s salary is $71,000.

David Checkland, president of the Ryerson Faculty Association, said Lajeunesse’s numbers are off and that individual faculty salaries are only to be increased by three per cent. He added faculty salaries probably aren’t the only area in the university where costs will rise.

RyeSAC President Ken Marciniec was surprised Lajeunesse singled out faculty salaries as a concern.

“Instead of attacking the tuition freeze, he attacked the faculty. Strange,” he said. “I don’t think it serves any purpose to make these comments.”

The Liberals haven’t revealed how much money universities will get n the upcoming provincial budget. Until they do, Checkland said, no one should jump to conclusions.

“There’s no reason yet to be alarmed about the funding until we see the whole package.”

While tuition may be frozen and the compensation low, Lajeunesse said the university may not have to slash the budget if government grants increase. He wouldn’t say where the university would hack spending, but said that if the government doesn’t change its tune, cuts will come.

A spokeswoman for Mary Anne Chambers, minister of training, colleges and universities, said the compensation conundrum will hopefully be resolved by the end of the month.

Leave a Comment