U of W keeps jobs empty to balance latest budget

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THE University of Winnipeg has left $3.5-million worth of jobs vacant to help balance its budget.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/06/2013 (3333 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THE University of Winnipeg has left $3.5-million worth of jobs vacant to help balance its budget.

“We anticipated this would be a tough year,” president Lloyd Axworthy said Monday night after the board of regents passed a $116-million budget.

The university knew it was facing a $2-million pension shortfall that had to be made up — a task that will continue for five or six more years, said Axworthy — and U of W took a $1.5-million revenue hit when the province reneged on its funding promise.

The Selinger government had promised five per cent operating grant increases in the third year of a three-year commitment, but reduced that to a 2.5 per cent increase.

Axworthy said faculties and departments that had been told to cut $1.5 million from their budgets had to lop an additional $1.5 million before the books balanced.

Senior administrators are taking a wage freeze for the third straight year and have chopped $400,000 from their budgets.

Enrolment of international students has been projected to go up five per cent; their fees have been raised at the same rate. Canadian students’ fees are capped at 1.6 per cent in the fall.

Echoing University of Manitoba president David Barnard, Axworthy said “It’s not appropriate” to legislate a cap on tuition fees when the province is pulling back on funding and universities are hurting.

The capped tuition-fee increase amounts to only $29 a student for U of W, he said.

The province did allow a $5-per-credit-hour information technology ancillary fee that could amount to as much as $150 per student, which will help, Axworthy said. He added U of W has improved student services and continues to boost endowment funds to help inner-city youth attend university.

While the money would go into U of W’s capital budget rather than the operating budget, the regents have given Axworthy the green light to sell its share of 491 Portage Ave. — the former Rice Building and former bus depot.

“We’ll keep our lease” on the portions that now house some classrooms and services, the university bookstore, a restaurant, and other facilities, Axworthy pointed out.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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