‘Every Budget is a Choice’

As Laurier Full-Time Faculty and Professional Librarians, and the Support Staff (WLUSA/OSSTF) gear up for negotiations in a couple of short months, you might be interested to know what our colleagues at Western University (formerly known as the University of Western Ontario) have been up to. They have just released a critique of the Western Administration’s Budget and as you know and they reiterate, ‘budgets are about choices’.

We know this well at Laurier, since the Senior Administration have said they have to make 2 percent cuts this coming year and 4 percent the next. We will be taking a closer look at their claims in the coming weeks.

For now, I have reposted the OCUFA report for your convenience and with the links to OCUFA and UWOFA’s Report below:

The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) has released a piercing critique of Western’s budgeting practices. Titled “Every budget is a choice,” the report highlights how Western’s administration puts the accumulation of assets ahead of funding core activities, such as teaching.

“Western is not poor,” said UWOFA president Alison Hearn. “The resources are there to support the university’s core mission of teaching and research. The board of governors and senior administration can choose to do so if they wish.”

UWOFA reveals that Western is in good financial shape, with large surpluses ($202 million in 2009) and substantial reserves. There is thus little justification for departmental budget cuts, a wage freeze, or the elimination of academic staff positions. Western could invest more in its core activities – teaching and research – but has simply decided not to do so. UWOFA is calling for a rebalancing of priorities away from unnecessary penny pinching, and towards the educational mission of the university.

The UWOFA report is a great example of the power in analyzing university budgets in detail. OCUFA supports this work through its University Finance Committee. – See more at: http://ocufa.on.ca/2014/uwofa-releases-critique-of-westerns-budget/#sthash.PWfUJygc.dpuf

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