Uneven effects on departments feared

One day after it became widely circulated that the University of Calgary faces a cumulative four-year 20 per cent budget cut, it remains unknown how exactly each department will be affected. From the departments reached for comment Wed., Oct. 20, it is clear that not all areas of the university will be equally affected.

Department Head for Art Dr. Arthur Nishimura said this latest round of cuts only compounds the problems created by cuts to the Fine Arts budget in recent years.

“It’s devastating. Absolutely devastating,” he said. “We lost the slide library [last year], which is now nearly unusable, despite the best efforts of the library staff. We lost personnel, so we don’t know how we’ll deal with this.”

According to Nishimura, courses may have to be combined, and program components lost to staff attrition will likely not be replaced. The amount of work to be completed will not decrease, however.

“We can’t run this department without the support staff we have,” he said, adding that suggestions such as fundraising art sales would take away from teaching time. “We don’t have any more to give.”

Nishimura added that the university’s art programs are important to the culture of Calgary, and are critical to the public face of the university.

Fine Arts, along with the rest of the university, was adversely affected by a seven per cent budget cut in the last two years. The department lost teaching and support staff, as well as material resources.

Dean of Social Sciences Dr. Stephen J. Randall stressed that the university needs to have a sustainable budget, but noted that the cuts will hurt students.

“There is no doubt that the cuts will affect our ability to sustain the quality of education,” he said.

“A very high percentage of the budget goes to salaries,” Randall added, without elaborating further.

As of September 30, 2004, there were 22,852 course registrations in Social Sciences for the Fall semester. According to the department, over 2,700 students are registered in Social Science programs, and 213 Social Science faculty and staff.

Meanwhile, Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz does not yet know how the announcement will affect his operations.

“We haven’t been advised of the details,” said Fritz on Wed. “Things are status quo right now.”

– Gauntlet Staff, with files from Kirstin Morrell and Вen Li

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