Students Cut Out of UofG's Budget Process
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
“There are a lot of problems with the way the University’s 2006/07 budget has been developed,” says Hannah Draper, Communications Commissioner at the Central Student Association. “Tuition fees are going up this coming September at the same time that departments are cutting their budgets by 2% for the next 5 years. Again, students are left paying more for less and the University just isn’t listening that this is unacceptable.”
In addition to being upset over tuition fee increases and the effect of budget cuts to the already compromised quality of their education, students are very offended by the deceptive student-consultation process coordinated by the University.
Every year, the University strikes a committee called the Student Budget Advisory Group (SBAG) that is comprised of students from various student governments. The official mandate of SBAG is to provide a medium for student perspective and advice to the University Executive on matters pertaining to the University Budget however, members of SBAG feel that this year it has been an advisory group in name only.
“This year SBAG has been informed of budgetary decisions after they have been made, rather than consulted while the University is examining potential budget decisions. Basically, budget decisions are being finalized before the student perspective has even been voiced,” says Andrew Munroe, Finance and Human Resources Commissioner at the CSA, and a member of SBAG. “The Committee’s role as the official voice of the student body regarding the University’s budget has been marginalized to the point that it is solely reactionary.”
“The minimal role of students in significant budgetary decisions is exemplified by the recent decision to cancel a project intended to improve bus access to the UC. This cost of this project was budgeted at well over $500,000. Until it was announced that this project was being cancelled, students were unaware of its very existence. Students are also concerned about what other similar projects might be underway, of which we have no knowledge.”
“The consultation process is a sham that allows the University to look like it has used due diligence to consult its students but in the end students' hard work, research and recommendations for the budget won't make a difference,” says Draper. “Students, including student governments, and SBAG, were informed about these decisions after they were already made, at the same time as the rest as the public.”
“I believe that students deserve to be fairly consulted on the budgeting process before budget decisions are made. The budgeting process is one that affects every student and every department on this campus and it is something that should be openly discussed and debated among members of the university community. We have been totally left out of the loop and there appears to be a lot going on behind closed doors,” says Munroe. “There are alternatives to increasing tuition fees and cutting departments’ budgets. But it's hard to propose real options if you don't know what the real numbers actually are.”
Central Student Association
519.824.4120 x. 56376