Budget Cuts

Has your university been suffering budget cuts? At mine, we have had over 8 layoffs in my department over the last three years, with two happening this week.

It’s been a very frustrating week for the grad students here, as one of the layoffs was an admin staff who has been vitally important for all of us. As such, we’re all mourning the loss. And we’re all in shock, with lots of anger and frustration flying about.

I understand that when the money is not there, they have to figure out someway to make cuts. And they’ve made lots of other cuts over the years. They’ve taken phones out of the grad student offices. All of our admin staff now take furlough days. We have less TA positions then we’ve had in the past. Everyone is suffering – to some extent.

But personally, none of the previous cuts have really affected me in a way that I’ve actually noticed. I’ve heard about them. I’ve been sad to see some of the staff leave (the ones that I’ve ever interacted with). But for the most part, I’ve been very insulated from the cuts. However this last one really hurts. And it affects all of us graduate students terribly.

There’s much discussion among grad students of what can be done now (most likely nothing) and how we feel about it. The current consensus seems to be that we need to make our concerns well known to the department. That we need to make sure the chair understands how we feel and why. And to point out some of the reasons we have that they may not have considered when making the decision.

Our department chair sent an email suggesting that we need to be directing our frustration towards the provincial government as it has been making the largest cuts to the university budget that are ultimately reflected in the letting go of personnel. And, to a degree, I’m sure that he’s right. And I know that we probably do need to “get mad” and show them how this is affecting us. But I still wonder if there isn’t some other place, or some other position that could have been affected instead. (Which makes me feel horrible, because I don’t want someone else to lose their job, and I know all the losses in the end are affecting all of us.)

Anyway, I’m not sure how things are going to play out. And I’m not sure if things will get a lot worse, a bit worse, or stay about the same (or in the most unlikely way improve). I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

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