In his letter to the North Shore News dated Oct. 20, Ralph Sultan misrepresents the concern of current (and past) faculty of Capilano University who, in various protests over the last six months, have drawn attention repeatedly to the lack of process in the reconfiguring of the university.
These cuts have happened without any academic plan in place, let alone a strategic plan for the university, and, as a result, put our institution’s ability to serve our community at risk. This coming year’s cuts reportedly will be double those last year, and will likely affect what Mr. Sultan describes as “feeder” courses in the arts and sciences, such as English and math.
What Mr. Sultan also surprisingly fails to address, particularly since he had what he describes as a “brief stint” as Minister of Advanced Education, is why Capilano University students are funded at least $3,000 less per student per year than students at other post-secondary institutions in the Lower Mainland, on average. Having no fewer than two North Shore MLAs in the advanced education portfolio in recent years has not changed that long-standing inequity.
Faculty certainly understand dealing with scarce funding, Capilano faculty more than most because the government has systematically shortchanged Capilano University students for so long. Faculty also understand that no institution can be everything to everyone, and change is inevitable and even desirable.
What is more difficult to understand, however, is why significant cuts are happening without any academic or strategic plan in place. What is more difficult to understand is why administration, without meaningful consultation, cut more than $3 million of classes to cover a deficit somewhere between $600,000 and $800,000. What is more difficult to understand are severance packages totaling at least $600,000 given to three administrators in that same time period. What is more difficult to understand is how faculty costs have remained constant in the last five years, while the cost of administration has increased 50 per cent during that same time period. What is more difficult to understand is why the provincial government funding formula, systematically disadvantaging Capilano students, has never been rectified. What is more difficult to understand is how being what Mr. Sultan calls a “great university” can be accomplished by eliminating computer science, as one example, last year. What is next? English? Math? History?
We would be happy to meet with Mr. Sultan at any time to provide other perspectives on what has happened at Capilano in recent years.
Joanne Quirk, president
On behalf of the Capilano Faculty Association executive team
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