WHEN Capilano College graduated to university status in 2008, then-premier Gordon Campbell and then-college president Greg Lee crowed about the bright future of the post-secondary institution. The white-hot economy meant students would need degrees to compete, they said.
A walk around the bleak campus today doesn't reflect their vision after the school's board of governors slashed hundreds of non-degree granting classes to make up for a budget shortfall.
No one would argue that things must stay the same forever. But the way these budget cuts came about shows a marked lack of planning and commitment, both by the province and the campus administration that presided over the 11th-hour program executions. The province was happy to grant Capilano its "university" name, but funding to back up it up never came. Administrative acquiescence to a per-capita funding shortfall now leaves it open to the charge of programming for profit rather than for the community it serves.
Many of the programs lost on Tuesday had excellent track records for getting graduates employed or on track for more advanced education. This comes at a time when students must ask themselves if the debt they'll take on in order to get a four-year bachelor's degree is worth it. Unemployment among the college graduation age is still double the rate it is for those over 25.
We can't go back to 2008 and warn everyone about the reality of today's economy, but we can get back to sound planning to solve CapU's identity crisis.