Fine arts cuts staff again

The faculty of Fine Arts will have to make do with less support staff after shedding over a dozen positions during the last few months.

Four individuals were let go and several vacant or part-time positions with interim staff were discontinued.

Many of the positions lost belonged to the first people students approached if they had questions, said Students’ Union fine arts representative Joey Brocke.

“It’s always regrettable,” said Brocke. “It’s an unfortunate situation when you have to lose people, especially people that were that visible to students.”

The four positions terminated belonged mainly to administrative or support staff. Brocke said two technicians are the only losses that will directly affect students. Without them, arts majors won’t have constant access to labs.

All faculties had their budgets frozen and were required to balance them despite increased costs.

“Our budget has been held to the same expectations as other faculties,” said fine arts dean Dr. Ann Calvert. “The only tool we really have is to reduce positions.”

She explained that the cuts are not related to a drop in donations. The total donations haven’t been calculated yet for this year, but donations usually go to special projects or scholarships, not operating costs.

“Most of them won’t impact actual academic offerings and classes,” said Brocke.

He added that the decision had nothing to do with the upcoming faculty amalgamation decision. A vote to combine the faculties of fine arts, humanities, social science and communications and culture will be going to the Board of Governors at the end of April.

“If you look at the data for faculty amalgamation, moving to a larger unit would allow for more budget flexibility, essentially making it more stable,” said Brocke.

The fine arts faculty went through similar cuts in 2003. Fourteen positions were cut as part of a reorganization due to budget decrease.

“I’d hoped it would not happen again after 2003,” said Calvert. “It’s never a good thing when you have to make those decisions. We’ll notice that they’re not there.”

More cuts came in 2004 after the university cut $60 million from its total budget to pay off its outstanding deficit.

Calvert is sure that other faculties will have to make similar cuts if budgets stay frozen.

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