Foreseeable trouble with unforeseeable transparency

In a Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union board meeting on February 5, Wilfrid Laurier University president Max Blouw declared the possibility of future layoffs due to overpowering expenses contributing to the structural deficit. The administration has stalled any further conversation on this matter and the transparency of our university officials is — yet again — in question.

Yesterday, the department of communications, public affairs and marketing posted a statement on wlu.ca, which said, “as we continue to develop the 2016-17 operating budget, Laurier faces the likelihood of unit-level budget reductions due to the structural deficit and the need to support university priorities.”

This statement carries considerable ambiguity, an ominous tone to the future of Laurier and mostly steers clear from the idea of potential employment cuts.

While we understand the tough financial situation most universities are in and that certain measures must be taken for Laurier to operate in a healthy manner, it’s also important students, staff and faculty are told what these measures are instead of being given an official statement that does nothing but beat around the bush.

Much like the delay in the new Lazaridis building, students are being left in the dark. And it’s about time the highly-paid administration affords a light bulb.

They are shutting down plausible communication on what people really want to know. Are people losing their jobs? Is academia going to be affected? Are services the first to go? These are questions that will remain stagnant as we await the final decisions that could come without any warning.

We saw last year what happened when Laurier decided to axe 22 positions and the chaos that ensued because of a lack of transparency within the institution. While reactions may have been overzealous, the ambiguity made the blows that much harder to handle. And this will continue until answers are provided.

This sort of ‘under the rug’ attitude towards student and faculty matters is a repeat of the same pattern as of last year’s layoffs.

A storm is coming. And yet our forecast tells us there’s not a cloud in sight.

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