UQAM to cut jobs, hike tuition

Montreal university to downsize considerably to get out of debt

The Université du Québec à Montréal laid out its possible plans to deal with deepening debt last week. The recommendations from an external consultant include hiking tuition, cutting faculty positions, and freezing salaries — and the faculty union is predictably upset.

The recommendations come from a PricewaterhouseCoopers review that suggests 77 teaching positions should be axed. The plan was only one of six possible approaches to curbing the financial situation. The university has been grappling with a serious financial crisis for some time. The university was expected to run a $43 million deficit this year. However, rector Claude Corbo told the Montreal Gazette that the deficit has been cut down to $27 million.

Faculty unions and associations representing staff rejected the report, saying that the province should fund the university. A students’ representative noted that students and staff were not consulted for the report.

The financial crisis is linked to budget overruns in two building projects. The science pavilion was $100-million over budget and the province pulled funding from a residence building after the design was changed, sending the budget from $226 million to over $400 million.