Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
November 22, 1999
U of G president deeply concerned at news of government cuts
The University of Guelph and other Ontario universities have collectively voiced their disappointment to the Ontario government about the approximate $25 million in budget cuts announced Thursday that will directly affect colleges and universities.
These include Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) cuts to operating grants and OSAP and a proposed $3.5-million cut to the University of Guelph's partnership agreement with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
President Mordechai Rozanski has been in direct contact with MTCU to reinforce this point. "I am particularly concerned about the impact of the planned OSAP cuts on accessibility," he said. He plans to discuss with students the ideas that should be proposed at the federal and provincial levels to improve student aid programs, specifically to address debt relief and the need for bursaries.
The government also announced a 0.2 per-cent cut to operating grants for 2000-2001. "While this is small in percentage terms, this cut to our operating grant sends a distressing message," said Rozanski. "The executive heads of Ontario universities and the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) have been working hard to convince government that it must reinvest in post-secondary education if universities are expected to deal with the projected 40 per-cent increase in enrolment over the next decade."
On a more encouraging note, MTCU has told the executive heads that discussions will continue on next year's transfer payments and multi-year increased core funding to accommodate growth, said Rozanski. Minister Dianne Cunningham also publicly reiterated the government's commitment that there will be a place for every qualified and motivated student who wishes to go to college or university in the province of Ontario.
"These are hopeful signs, but we need a commitment to increased core operating funding,"said Rozanski.
The proposed cut of $3.5 million to Guelph's agreement with (OMAFRA) is also disheartening. "This announcement is extremely disappointing," said Vice-President (Research) Larry Milligan. "While no specific programs have been identified for elimination or reduction, the President and I will be informing the Ministry that we believe any disinvestment which undermines this province's ability and potential to create innovation and wealth and to contribute to our future knowledge economy is detrimental to our collective well-being.
"While we recognize the significant pressures on OMAFRA to reduce spending, the partnership upon creation absorbed an initial net cut of $10-million after revenue generation. We have since continually sought new opportunities for innovation and alternative avenues of revenue generation. We will be meeting with OMAFRA to review the proposed cut, its rationale, timing, and opportunities for creative responses that support the strategic purposes and vision for our partnership."
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