Edmonton - The nearly 4,000 workers at the Association of Academic Staff at the University of Alberta (AASUA) are taking matters into their own hands to protect the future of the university and Alberta, after Jason Kenney and the UCP government’s devastating 2021 budget.
"We are concerned about our province’s future and that’s why we are stepping forward to protect it with a campaign to mobilize our 4,000 members alongside the entire UofA community and beyond," said AASUA President, Ricardo Acuña. "Our university drives innovation and makes our province strong. Now is when we should be investing in our future and protecting Alberta, not cutting it like the Kenney government has recklessly done.
"In the 2021 UCP provincial budget, the University of Alberta’s provincial grant has been cut again by a further 11 percent, which is 60.1 million dollars, or almost half of the total cut to Alberta’s post-secondary sector. This means while 25 percent of the province’s students attend the UofA, our school will bear 50 percent of the reduction in funding.
Given these extraordinarily challenging times at the UofA, the AASUA, which is made up of the university’s educators, researchers, librarians and administrative professionals, has taken the unprecedented step of launching the largest campaign in its history. Launched today, the campaign “Protect our Future: For our University. For Alberta” will mobilize thousands of AASUA members, the broader UofA community of workers and students, as well as Albertans across the province. The campaign has one simple goal: stop the cuts at the UofA and protect Alberta’s future.
“These are not normal times at the UofA and by attacking our university, the Kenney government is taking a jackhammer to the very foundation of Alberta’s history and its future,” said Acuña. “We are launching our campaign knowing we are up against huge challenges. But now more than ever, we need to come together to protect our future for our university and for Alberta.
”Check out the campaign petition page here: ProtectOurFuture.ca
For more information:
● 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 to 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.