The Association of Academic Staff at the University of Alberta (AASUA) received over 7,500 signatures on a petition to stop post-secondary cuts—and presented it directly to the Minister of Advanced Education during a recorded virtual meeting on April 27, 2021.
“This is a crucial moment for our campaign. Jason Kenney and the UCP government are flat-out attacking our university and Alberta.” said AASUA President, Ricardo Acuña. “We’re showing the decision makers that there is real support for post-secondary education in our province. These cuts won’t stand.”
Minister of Advanced Education, Demetrios Nicolaides, and the NDP critic for advanced education, David Eggen, attended the virtual event. In addition, Kevin Kane, the President of the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA) and Lisa Dublin, a representative from the Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA) at U of A delivered words of support for the campaign.
This petition was a part of a larger campaign by academic staff to protect the future of the U of A after the provincial grant was cut again, this time by 11 percent or $60.1 million. The campaign, entitled “Protect Our Future”, has been gaining momentum as Albertans realize the disastrous effects these cuts will have on the province.
The AASUA, which is made up of the university’s educators, researchers, librarians and administrative professionals used the virtual event to build further momentum around the campaign—the largest in the organization’s history.
“This is not an easy fight. We need all the support we can get. Kenney’s plan will put more people out of work, stifle innovation, and force more young professionals to leave Alberta.” said Acuña. “It’s crucial we stand up together and fight for our province.”
Watch the video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1851496885024339
• The UCP government’s 2021 Alberta budget will have devastating consequences for post-secondary education across Alberta and seriously hamper the province’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
• Province-wide, the size of the cut to the Campus Alberta Grant for the coming fiscal year will be anywhere from $126 million to $175 million (it is difficult to pinpoint the actual number in the Alberta budget documents).
• The total cut to government funding of post-secondary operations is between 15% and 20%, or approximately $500 million, since Jason Kenney’s UCP government came into power.
• The University of Alberta is once again shouldering a disproportionate share of the cuts. Our university’s share is one-half of the total cut, which is entirely inconsistent with our relative size in the province. It is entirely inappropriate to single out Alberta’s flagship university in this way.
• The UofA will have $60 million less in operational funding in the coming year than it did the year before, a cut of 11%.
• The University will have to, in short order, find a way to cut an extra $7 million from its operating budget for the coming year on top of the cuts it has already planned for. We don’t know yet where these “extra savings” will be found, but recent experience suggests that front-line support, facilities, IT, and maintenance staff will bear the brunt.
• The AASUA is the union and association representing about 4,000 staff at the UofA. It was established in the 1930s and is today comprised of academic staff in seven constituency groups: Academic Faculty (FAC), Academic Librarians (LIB), Administrative and Professional Officers (APO), Academic Teaching Staff (ATS), Faculty Service Officers (FSO), Trust/Research Academic Staff (TRAS), and Temporary Librarian, Administrative and Professional Officer (TLAPS).
• The AASUA’s commitment to diversity with equity is rooted in a respectful acknowledgment that we live and work on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Blackfoot, Papaschase, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/ Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to influence our community.