STOP The Budget Cuts
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After the ASBC Town Hall on the budget cuts, we received an overwhelming amount of support from students ho have struggled over the last few years with their degrees due to inaccessibility to courses and many other factors that have been exacerbated by cuts to the Faculty of Arts budget. We will not stand idly by as the University makes further cuts to the faculty and limits our degree options while further commercializing the university as a whole.
Below is the letter written by current ASBC President Isaac Weldon, that was circulated at the town hall, denouncing the budget cuts. Though it was written for the Faculty of Arts, we encourage anyone who is unhappy about the commercialization of universities and who denounces the cuts to any of the faculties at the University of Manitoba in general to feel free to sign and circulate the letter.
Dear President Barnard,
It is with great concern that I write this letter to you regarding the continued cuts to the Faculty of Arts Budget. It has been my distinct pleasure to represent the Arts Student Body for the past year. Within this role, and within my role as a student since 2013, I have witnessed the devastating effects that budgetary reductions have on the wellbeing of my entire faculty.
It is my hope that the lessons I have learned from my education at the University of Manitoba may be used to shine light on my concerns, as well as persuade you to see further cuts to the Faculty of Arts will have grave ramifications for my faculty and the greater university community.
I write to you during a tumultuous time characterized by uncertainty, fear, and unrest among the students of my faculty. Our anxiety for the future is trifurcated by continued budget cuts, budget model redesigns, and potential tuition fee increases. The demand to encompass but separate my concerns for these three issues seems impossible in this difficult time.
Budget cuts are not inevitable; they are the result of decisions between prioritized outcomes. The faculty of arts has been too low on the priority list of this university for too long. And the effects have resonated profoundly throughout each department, right down to every student, professor, and staff.
I realize that, to some, an Arts degree may not have the same high-level appeal as a professional program and may not seem as deserving of resources as other degrees highly demanded by our increasingly corporate world. But I assure you, the skills that are acquired from studying the arts formulate the foundation for a well-balanced perception of the world and develop the expertise necessary to generate and communicate original ideas, as much as it does nurture the ability to critically analyze and respond to the ideas of others.
The skills taught, learned, and developed in the Faculty of Arts are the same ones that compel me to write this letter. The ability to analyze the historic trend of this university, as it follows the path of other institutions that have succumbed to the neoliberal agendas promulgated by the proponents of for-profit culture; the ability to investigate and digest the numbers and trends represented by the university in its budget; the ability to discern the price that this university is willing to pay to reached its defectively prioritized goals; the ability to forecast the monumentally destructive future that these continued actions will bring; and the ability to dissolve all of these concerns and turn them into a tangible reaction with our thoughts, and our words; are the very abilities that make an arts education so significant. And the focus on developing these important skills in an arts education is exactly why the Faculty of Arts is always the strongest opponent to these cuts.
We will not stand idly by as our faculty is reduced to rubble; literally – as our buildings are increasingly dilapidated and figuratively as our programs become factories for simplified and commercialized degrees. Our relationship with this university is more than just a transaction. We are more than just revenue streams.
The delivery of education must find a way to balance maximizing affordability and quality, but this balance cannot occur when a University tries to maximize profit.
Through various outlets, I have listened to the concerns of the professors, tutorial leaders, support staff, and students from several departments in this faculty, and I assure you the sentiments are the same. The Faculty of Arts is in critical condition. With potential tuition fee increases on the horizon, we are in every sense, being forced to pay more for less.
I urge you to consider these points that I have raised and take every possible measure to stop the cuts to the Faculty of Arts and to begin the process of redistributing the resources necessary for us to tend to the wounds caused by cuts in previous years.
We, the undersigned, denounce the continued cuts to the Faculty of Arts and urge the University of Manitoba Administration to stop the cuts immediately and begin the process of repairing the damages caused by previous years of debilitating budgetary reduction.
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