Concordia Denounces Budget Cuts

University, Student and Faculty Associations Release Collective Comment on Austerity

  • The Concordia University Senate, the Concordia Student Union, the Concordia Graduate Students Association and the Concordia Inter-Union Council released the statement together. File Photo Shaun Michaud

Concordia University just sent a message to the Quebec government.

In a press release that was published on Mar. 2, 2016, four bodies from the university jointly wrote that they oppose the provincial budget cuts implemented in recent years.

In the statement, it said that Concordia has “reached a point where without a reinvestment, it will become extremely difficult to maintain, let alone improve, the quality of the education we offer our students.”

The Concordia University Senate, the Concordia Student Union, the Concordia Graduate Students Association and the Concordia Inter-Union Council released the statement together.

“This is part of an increasing number of university institutions that are rejecting the structural underfunding that they’re being subjected to under the Liberal government,” said the CSU’s general coordinator Terry Wilkings.

Concordia also demanded that the government release a clear plan for higher education.

“After a lot of discussions, [we decided] it was going to be stronger if [the statement] is from everybody,” said Ted Stathopoulos, president of the Concordia University Faculty Association.

The letter was released now because the Liberal government is supposed to release its 2016-2017 budget in the spring. The Liberals recently appointed a new minister of higher education, Hélène David, formerly responsible for culture. Pierre Moreau, who was appointed in January during the cabinet shuffle, will have reduced responsibilities as he receives treatment for a tumour.

“It’s important to insert a narrative that vehemently opposes a further dismantling of the social service sector in Quebec,” Wilkings said. “As an institution, Concordia is adding their voice to a growing course of organizations who are opposing the cuts.”

The CSU was the association that initially brought forth the idea of making a statement, according to Wilkings. He said they drew inspiration from similar announcements that Université de Sherbrooke and Université Laval released.

Over the course of the summer and fall, Wilkings had conversations with members of Concordia’s administration about the issue.

Wilkings said the school needed some convincing to really make a statement. When Université Laval put out their release in September, Concordia did not express any interest sending a message.

Since 2012, Concordia has seen its budget reduced by $36.6 million.

A Concordia spokesperson declined to comment by press time.

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