Unions, students, profs, administration join to denounce cutbacks
By McGill Reporter Staff
McGill is pulling together to fight the Quebec government’s Draconian cutbacks to universities.
Associations representing McGill faculty members, support staff, students and the administration yesterday agreed to a joint statement denouncing the cuts.
In an initiative led by the McGill Association of University Teachers (MAUT), the statement demands that the government reverse its decision to cut funding to Quebec’s universities by $124 million this fiscal year and by a similar amount next year.
“We call on the government of Quebec to reverse these dangerous cuts and we appeal to Quebec society as a whole to join together to protect and sustain the universities as a key resource for the future health and prosperity of our society,” the statement says.
It was signed by the McGill Association of University Teachers, the Students’ Society of McGill University, McGill’s Post-Graduate Students’ Society, the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA), the McGill University Non-Academic Staff Association (MUNASA), the Service Employees International Union (SEU), and Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum.
“We felt it was important, as members of the McGill community, to do what we could to bring different groups at McGill together to speak with one, powerful voice,” said Ken Hastings, president-elect of MAUT and a member of the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, located at the Montreal Neurological Institute. “The groups who signed on to this feel this is the moment when the University needs to come together in standing up to defend our institution and our sister universities across Quebec.”
The document reiterates the “enormous benefit” of universities to society, highlighting that the “knowledge of the human and natural world” that they have developed over the centuries “have been critical in achieving material and social advances.”
The signatories call the cuts “sudden, severe, and dangerous”, as well as “a real threat to the health of our university system and the future well-being of Quebec society.”
Here is the full text:
“A university is a living community of students, professors, librarians, support staff, and administrators whose collective work drives the research and teaching activities that develop new knowledge and deploy existing knowledge. Knowledge of the human and natural world has been critical in achieving material and social advances over the centuries. The contributions of universities have been and will continue to be of enormous benefit to society. On December 6, 2012, and February 8, 2013, the government of Quebec unexpectedly announced budget cuts to its university system of $124 million within the current (2012-13) fiscal year, and a similar cut to follow in the 2013-14 year. These cuts are sudden, severe, and dangerous. They are a real threat to the health of our university system and the future well-being of Quebec society.
“We call on the government of Quebec to reverse these dangerous cuts and we appeal to Quebec society as a whole to join together to protect and sustain the universities as a key resource for the future health and prosperity of our society.”