The comments contained in the January 16 StarPhoenix editorial regarding the troubled state of the U of S (U of S strategy sows confusion) are timely and appropriate. Universities across the country are characterized by bloated, inefficient administrations that suck resources away from the academic agenda, and the U of S is no exception. When our new president took office in July, she inherited what some would consider ‘a financial nightmare’. This is most unfortunate, but the people of Saskatchewan, those that ultimately fund our institution, need to consider the ramifications of proposed solutions to address the deficit. They will lead to increased student debt through higher tuition and lower quality post-secondary education (PSE) from losses to faculty positions and selective cutting of programs.
Faculty at the U of S continue to have a key role in decisions about academic programming and we will continue to promote quality and diversity of academic programming, but the current resources can only go so far. The quality academic programming delivered by U of S faculty for more than 100 years is in jeopardy.
In recent years, the Provincial Government has provided operating grants to the U of S that have supported the escalating costs of providing quality PSE, but now it has decided to abandon this strategy and leave the U of S in the precarious position of making unprecedented cuts. While the U of S must ultimately accept the blame for its predicament, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the Provincial Government’s “austerity” approach to funding PSE lies at the root of the consequences. It’s sad that we as a “have” province should be saddled with “have-not” academic programming at the U of S. The people of Saskatchewan deserve better.
Douglas P. Chivers,
Rawson Professor of Biology
Chair, U of S Faculty Association