Union goes to court to stop Capilano University’s Board from approving budget cuts
Faculty Want Budget Meeting Re-Scheduled to June, After the BC Election
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE), the provincial organization that represents over 10,000 faculty and staff in BC’s post-secondary institutions, is asking the BC Supreme Court to issue an injunction that would force the Board of Capilano University to re-schedule their May 14 meeting to a later date in June. The May meeting is set to approve a budget that would impose close to $3 million in program cuts across many departments at the University. The injunction application points out that the proposed budget cuts will adversely impact Capilano University students and cause irreparable harm to their education plans. As well, the application notes that the University has the financial capacity to consider other options and should postpone the Board meeting until after the provincial election.
“We think the Board of Capilano University is rushing this budget decision through,” says Cindy Oliver, President of FPSE. “So many things about this budget process just don’t add up,” Oliver noted. “A majority of the Board is appointed by the Minister of Advanced Education. At the very least, the Board should wait for a new Minister to be appointed—regardless of which party forms government after May 14—to deal with the funding issues at Capilano. We’ve reviewed the financial statements and think there are far better options than what the Board is rushing to approve on May 14th. That’s why we are asking the Court to postpone the meeting until June,” Oliver stressed.
“Our students will be hurt by these cuts if the Board approves this budget,” added Joanne Quick, President-elect of the Capilano Faculty Association, a member Local of FPSE. “Those students are beginning to speak out about those cuts. They have joined with faculty to call for a better solution than what the University’s administration is proposing in this budget. I’m confident that our collective voices will cause the Board to at least re-schedule the May meeting and opt for a more thorough review,” said Quirk.
“FPSE is also looking very seriously at a class action law suit against the University if they proceed with the program cuts that they are talking about. In many program areas such as Adult Basic Education (ABE), the commerce program, computer science and the studio arts program, there is a strong case to be made that the University is in breach of its commitment to students. The class action suit has a longer timeframe than the injunction application, but our concern at this point is that the program cuts undermine the legitimate plans that hundreds of students had in place to complete their education. The University has a responsibility to those students, a responsibility that is being abandoned by these proposed cuts,” Oliver concluded.
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.