On Campus

BC throne speech promises cash injection, new law school

New funds for colleges and universities announced after last year’s surprise cuts

British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell is promising new funding for the province’s colleges and universities less than a year after hitting those institutions with surprise funding cuts.

In Monday’s Speech from the Throne, which opened the new session of the province’s legislative assembly, the Liberal government promised new funding for colleges and universities, “green” research, post-secondary infrastructure, and the creation of a new law school at Thompson Rivers University.

British Columbia is only weeks from the official start of a provincial election campaign. Voters will go to the polls May 12.

The speech did not include the specific amount that will be earmarked for new post-secondary spending.

Last year, the Campbell government surprised B.C. universities by cutting funding while claiming they were merely re-allocating funds. It remains to be seen if the increase will be an inflationary increase, intended to fill the gap created last year, or an effective increase in funding.

Gordon Campbell announced plans to create a law school at Thompson Rivers University (formerly known as the University College of the Cariboo). The law school will be located in Kamloops, with degrees granted by the University of Calgary.

TRU president Kathleen Scherf says the new law school will focus on Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law. TRU hopes to recruit students to the school in 2010.

The Kamloops region will be a key battleground in the coming election. The New Democratics hold three seats in the region, with the governing Liberals holding the other two. Both Liberal seats were won in closely contested races.

Funding details are expected in the provincial budget which will be unveiled Tuesday.

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