Students' Union Reacts to Budget Cuts

News Staff - Tue Mar 12, 2013

The University of Alberta Students' Union is seriously concerned about the future of post-secondary education at our institution and in our province. With the U of A facing a 7.2% cut in provincial funding, students are concerned for the quality of their education, and worried that they might be targeted with further fees in order to make up the budget shortfall.

“Alberta has the lowest post-secondary participation rate in Canada already. Further fees, and further debt, will just further discourage more Albertans from attaining an education,” said Vice President (External) Petros Kusmu.

“These further cuts to educational funding will just add to an ongoing erosion of Alberta’s post-secondary system. Tuition has already gone up by nearly 300% after inflation in the last two decades, as the student/faculty ratio has become worse. Students are already paying more for less.”

The Students’ Union believes that Alberta’s education system must allow any qualified Albertan to receive an education, and is worried that an inappropriate response to budget difficulties could seriously impair the province’s future.

The Students’ Union Responds

Since the cuts were announced last Friday, the Students’ Union has been taking action. This week, President Colten Yamagishi and Vice President (External) Petros Kusmu have been speaking to various political parties, Members of the Legislative Assembly and Premier Alison Redford. Yamagishi and Kusmu, working in conjunction with the SU’s partners in the Council of Alberta University Students, have been clear to all parties that these cuts will hurt quality, and cannot be balanced by simply increasing tuition or tuition disguised as additional fees.

The Students’ Union wants to hear your concerns, and wants to ensure that students are fully informed about how serious these cuts could be. The SU will be spending this next week and a half meeting with concerned undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff and other stakeholders while at the same time collecting and disseminating information about what the 7.2% reduction in funding means to undergraduate students.

The Students’ Union realizes that the impact of these cuts will be realized both in the short term and over the next few years, and that the cuts could have an extremely negative long term effect on post-secondary education in the province. Realizing the long-term effects of the cuts, the Students’ Union is preparing a long-term strategy to deal with the cuts and any resulting fallout.

“Looking forward, we are going to look more critically at both the provincial and university’s budgets with the interest of protecting student services and university quality,” added Kusmu. “This isn’t going to resolve itself overnight, but we need to fight the long fight — for current and future students — to ensure that Alberta has a strong and accessible post-secondary system for decades to come.”

Join Us

The Students’ Union is eager to hear student feedback, and encourages interested students to contact the SU for opportunities to involve yourself in this process.

Once we have had an opportunity to discuss budget impacts with faculty associations, the Graduate Students’ Association and other impacted groups, the SU will host a Town Hall to share its findings and elicit further feedback. Tentatively, this forum will take place at SUBStage on Tuesday, March 26 @12:30.

Students: For more information, please contact:
Petros Kusmu
Vice President (External)
University of Alberta Students’ Union
P: 780.492.4236

Media: For more information, please contact:
Simon Yackulic
External Communications & Media Advisor
University of Alberta Students’ Union
P: 780.492.4236

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