Kwantlen music students filled the hallway outside their rehearsal spaces to speak out against controversial cuts that will eliminate the admission of new students. File photo

Budget cuts at Kwantlen Polytechnic will mean larger classes

President of Kwantlen faculty association says spending on administration salaries is going up

Just weeks after controversy erupted over budget cuts to the music program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), the head of the institution confirmed plans to make further cuts that will increase class sizes and reduce the number of class sections.

In response, the head of the association that represents KPU instructors said temporary cuts, like the elimination of new admissions to the music program, could become permanent as a result.

Details of the cuts, in the proposed 2019-20 budget, were disclosed by KPU president and vice-chancellor Alan Davis in a response to a Black Press Media query.

Unlike the Langley cuts, the changes would apply all KPU Metro Vancouver locations over the next five years.

In his email, the university head said the budget would “guide recalibration of university operations” by “actively seeking new revenue-generating opportunities that will provide long-term financial sustainability for the organization.”

It calls for increasing the total average number of students in a class from 22 to 24 over the next five years and trimming class sections (Reducing class sections would mean fewer students could study a course at Kwantlen).

“The proposed 2019-20 budget includes a 2.2 per cent reduction in the number of class sections offered by KPU across its seven faculties,” the statement said.

READ MORE: Music students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University battle cuts

That represents approximately 125 sections out of a total of about 5,700 class sections, and would be followed by further cuts.

“The five-year plan forecasts further total class number reductions of 1.5 per cent each year for the following four years,” the email message said.

An email message to KPU instructors by Kwantlen Faculty Association president Bob Davis condemned the budget cuts as “unfair and imbalanced” and warned it will mean “disproportionate faculty cuts.”

In the message to faculty members, the association president said budget figures provided by KPU show the budgeting for administrator salaries is going up at a time when the university is cutting overall costs by eight per cent over five years.

“All of the cost savings appear to be coming at the expense of one group, faculty,” he said.

His message suggested further budget-cutting will also mean recently announced temporary cuts, like the recent elimination of new admissions lto the music program at the Langley campus, are likely to become permanent

“Program and section reductions or suspensions made now seem unlikely to be restored anytime soon,” he said.

“Where would the funding come from to restore the programs cut or suspended now? How would it be at all possible to restore them? There is no reason to suppose these are not permanent cuts. Yet they are not being framed this way.”

The university is putting “profit before programs”, the faculty association president said, by singling out courses with higher costs like music, fashion design, farrier, health unit coordinator and elements of science and horticulture.

READ MORE: Sour notes sounded: Cause of KPU music admission freeze disputed

KPU directors are scheduled to vote on the budget at a Wednesday, March 27 meeting.

All faculty members of the faculty association have been urged to attend the meeting and to write university administrators and provincial politicians.

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