PC Government Gives Back
$2 million is refunded to MRU
The Albertan Progressive Conservative Government announced that they will be returning $50 million dollars to post-secondary education after previously cutting the budget by $147 million, which affected 20 institutions across Alberta.
According to the province, $2 million will be given back to Mount Royal University in an effort to patch the university’s $7 million dollar deficit – one that resulted in a raise in student fees and several program suspensions including the Engineering degree, Theatre Arts diploma, Music Performance diploma, Disability Studies diploma, Forensics certificate, Journalism certificate and the Neonatal/Perinatal Nursing certificate.
“We’d like to thank the Deputy Premier (Thomas Lukaszuk) for delivering so quickly on his promise to address enrolment pressures facing Mount Royal and other institutions within Campus Alberta,” MRU President David Docherty said in a press release.
“This funding is about putting students first. It creates opportunities to say ‘Yes’ to more students who want to study at Mount Royal and get a university education,” added Docherty.
On Nov. 6, the Government of Alberta released a press release outlining the funds which will be returned to post-secondary institutions.
“The Government of Alberta believes in the importance of attracting and retaining the best and brightest to our province, and ensuring that people succeed in our growing communities and economy. Investing in students is a top priority and government wants to create even more spaces in our post-secondary institutions,” the press release stated.
Despite the fund return there is still a significant gap left, according to former full-time theatre instructor Jane MacFarlane.
She calls it an “eye-dropper give back” and “a game of smoke and mirrors.”
“It’s not enough, obviously. Are we supposed to grovel? I guess. It’s a good thing that they are giving back some of the funds, but again, it’s not enough,” she said. “We’re getting close to an election and so I think they are using this as a way to ease themselves back into it.”
“It’s nice, but it’s nothing. It’s a way to play caucus, to make us shut up, to keep us happy and quiet.”
MacFarlane says that after being involved with MRU for 13 years, it’s hard to believe that it’s “just poof, disappeared.”
“I find the atmosphere at MRU depressing. People seem more territorial and aggressive. When MRU became a university is was a really exciting and happy time and there was a positive energy. Now it’s like campus is under siege.”
MacFarlane said she was surprised that 16 theatre students returned to MRU after their program was cut so drastically.
“They knew that they weren’t getting what the previous students got.”
The press release continued to say the “government is providing funding to help institutions adjust to current enrolment pressures and prepare for even greater enrolments next year. It will ensure that students can continue to access world-class learning. Institutions will determine which programs are expanded and by how much.”
However, President David Docherty said it is too soon to tell what exactly MRU will be doing with the funds.
“The university will determine as quickly as possible how best to direct these resources so that they have the maximum impact on students who most need access,” said Docherty.