Mount Allison University president Robert Campbell has announced that the Board of Regents has passed a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year, but not all constituencies of the university are impressed.
“There is a balance between revenues and expenditures but there is an imbalance when it comes to the priorities of the President and the Board of Regents,” says Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA) President Loralea Michaelis.
Michaelis says that the Board of Regents is losing sight of the core mission of the university, which is to provide an excellent education to students and to make it possible for faculty to contribute to our understanding and appreciation of the world through research and creative activity.
“Right now we are seeing a decline in the number of tenure-track faculty and an increase in the number of students. Planning commitments to increase faculty complement in departments especially suffering from inadequate teaching resources are not being honoured and the university administration has fallen short in replacing faculty on leave. Meanwhile the President and Board are shifting operating money noticeably towards construction and renovations,” she says.
This includes an increase in the operating budget contribution this coming year to the new Fine Arts building, and most controversially, the expenditure of over $1.3 million dollars to restore Black House, which will serve as the new presidential residence.
“We are told that times are hard and we all have to tighten our belts and learn to do more with less. How can they justify this expenditure on a non-academic building at the same time that cuts to academic programs are being made?” Michaelis asks.
Mount Allison does not have an operating or capital debt and its endowment is valued at more than $100 million. “Mount Allison is a well-off institution and the faculty want it to make every effort to offer the best undergraduate education in Canada and beyond,” she says.
MAFA represents 190 full-time and part-time faculty and librarians.