On Campus

UCalgary to cut 200 jobs by the fall

Most lost jobs expected to be in operations, trades, advisory and technical positions

According to The Calgary Herald, University of Calgary has announced it might have to cut up to 200 job by September.

In an internal memo circulated Tuesday, school president Harvey Weingarten says the university needs to trim its budget by at least three per cent in all units and faculties in light of a $14.3-million shortfall. By law, the university is not allowed to run a deficit.

Weingarten says the cuts have primarily been caused by poor market performance caused by the economic downturn, which has adversely affected return on endowment funds that support various programs, plus the school’s pension fund. The endowment fund is down by $40.4 million, since hitting a last year’s high of $411 million.

“A significant portion of the university budget, approximately 60 per cent, pays for the salaries and benefits of our employees,” wrote Weingarten. “Given this reality, there is simply no possibility of ensuring that a balanced budget, once achieved, is sustainable unless we reduce our number of support and academic staff.”

Weingarten says he anticipates the school will have to cut the jobs of up to 200 people by the fall and that it’s likely there will be more reductions later. He says the actual numbers will depend on many factors, such as future government grants, tuition levels, endowment performance, salary and benefit settlements.

U of C’s faculty association president Anne Stalker told the Herald that staff members are “obviously very worried” about the job cuts and the long-term affect on programs.

“It makes it a less pleasant place to work,” she said. “They also think [the university brass] haven’t been thinking ahead. They should have planned more so it didn’t take everybody by surprise.

The greatest job losses are expected to effect the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which represents some 4,265 university staff in operations, trades, advisory and technical positions. “Of course, we don’t like it,” says AUPE president Doug Knight.

“The university has put a lot of their shortfalls on last year’s budget. A lot of the money lost is from the worldwide financial crisis, where it was inevitable something was gonna break. Their funding shortfall is because of endowments and they really shouldn’t be relying on endowment funding.”

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