Faculty refuses to accept slashed budgets

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By Julianna Cummins & Aleysha Haniff

The Ryerson Faculty Association (RFA) plans to resist next year’s “drastic” budget cuts that would monopolize their funds and compromise educational quality. “The RFA Executive is of the view that we need to resist the cuts internally,” reads an email obtained by the Eyeopener. The message was sent to all faculty from RFA President Anver Saloojee on behalf of the executive on Jan. 14, one day after the adminstration proposed slashing budgets by three to four per cent. The operating budget of the university was cut by three per cent for 2009-10. The 2010-11 proposed budget would force departments to scale back on top of those cutbacks. In the email, Saloojee outlined the potential hazards of less money, including job losses for part-time workers, increased workloads for faculty and fewer curriculum choices for students. “[A] seven per cent cut to the base of a university the size of ours that is continuously expanding — it has to have a detrimental effect on education,” Saloojee said later, referring to the combined effect of the cuts. Saloojee even questioned whether last year’s cuts had to be so severe based on the provincial funding the school received later on. Marco Fiola, chair of French and Spanish, said the 2009-10 budget cuts forced him to limit the number of upper-level classes. “It’s the lesser of two evils in some cases… We should offer it at night so we have a few students at least who are able to take this course,” said Fiola. Daniel Doz, dean of the faculty of communication and design, said he only has 20 per cent of his budget to stretch after shelling out for salaries. “It means what you cut takes the brunt of it,” said Doz, mentioning expenses like new equipment. The email also highlighted a resolution passed by the RFA representatives’ council to launch a province-wide campaign, with the Ontario Confederation of Faculty Associations, pressuring the provincial government to provide adequate funding. Saloojee said he has asked the administration to help them lobby. Alan Shepard, provost and vice-president academic, said last year’s cuts were needed. He hopes to keep this year’s cuts closer to three per cent. “That said, we got to make the numbers balance because the board of governors requires from us a balanced budget,” said Shepard.

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