Halifax – The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NS university presidents and the government of Nova Scotia is extremely disappointing for faculty and students, says the president of the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers of the document released on Friday, Sept 13.
“This is a ‘stay the course’ agreement on funding that has been shown to be completely inadequate,” says ANSUT president, Scott Stewart. “The 1% annual increase is actually a decrease when you factor in the cost of inflation. Worse yet, when you consider that government funding for universities was $349M in 2010, the grant of $365M this year represents a very small increase over the entire last decade.”
The rampant underfunding of NS universities is revealed by the fact that the government has supplied $30M in “emergency funding” to three universities since the McNeil government came into power. “This funding has, sometimes, been completely secretive and, at all times, been non-transparent and inequitable. Yet, Minister Kousoulis says such funding may happen again, says Stewart.
“Though Bill Lahey, Chair of the Council of NS University Presidents (CONSUP) says ‘the MOU negotiation process was long and collaborative,’ once again that process excluded students and faculty from the table as stakeholders,” says Stewart.
While funding for the prevention of sexual violence, e-mental health, and innovation are needed and welcome, such funding is irrelevant to the overall operating expenditures of universities. Once again, students and faculty will bear the brunt of this this inadequate level of funding.