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Campus community lines up to fight proposed U of G cuts

Groups representing students, professors and unionized workers at the University of Guelph will meet Monday evening to discuss their opposition to a new approach to cost cutting at the university.
What’s being called an “alternative town hall” will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Jan. 27 in Room 442 of the University Centre. The focus will be on opposition to the university’s Program Prioritization Process and $32.4 million in budget cuts over three years proposed by the university administration.
“The PPP ranked all academic programs and services on campus in order to develop justification for the cuts,” said a news release issued Wednesday by organizers of the meeting.
University administrators, including president Alastair Summerlee, tried to justify the PPP process at a town hall meeting they organized in mid-October. They said budget cuts of  $32.4 million are needed to deal with a structural deficit at the U of G – the gap between projected additional expenses and additional revenue over the next three years if nothing is done to change the situation.
Kate Lawson, the president of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, will speak Monday about the Ontario government’s drive to “differentiate” universities, the release said. Canadian Association of University Teachers executive James Compton will speak about the federal push to link research to private interests, it said.
As well, U of G students, faculty and workers will talk about likely effects of the proposed cuts.
“We believe that the Program Prioritization Process and its results are deeply flawed and create an excuse for the university to justify further cuts to the arts and other ‘less popular’ programs as well as greater private funding for research and facilities,” Marnie Eves, organizational coordinator at OPIRG-Guelph, said in the release.
“For students, it means that while tuition fees continue to rise each year by $200 to $300, we are also facing massive cutbacks to the services we need and the quality and diversity of our academic programs,” said Julia Forster, the academic and university affairs commissioner for the Central Student Association, which represents the U of G’s undergraduate students. “It means we are paying more and getting less.”
Monday’s event is organized by the CSA, OPIRG-Guelph, the Guelph Student Mobilization Committee, CUPE Local 1334 and the University of Guelph Faculty Association.

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