Funding cuts reveal impact deficit has on students
Due to the potential budget cuts that could impact the faculty of arts, as a result of Laurier’s projected $12.3 million deficit at the end of 2015, departments are beginning to show signs of strain.
The faculty of arts has cut funding for the French Language Assistants Program. The program consists of two positions filled by native French speakers and this year, both assistants are from France. These assistants run tutorials for students enrolled in the French program and beyond language skills, teach students about culture.
The TAs and the students are speaking out against the cut as they view it as essential for the development of students. Upper-year students will fill their positions and although it will provide the replacements with teaching experience, students are concerned that they are no substitute for native French speakers.
To try and mitigate any reduction in quality, TAs offered to have their benefits revoked in favour of keeping at least one of the native French positions in existence. However, the dean rejected this proposal.
In addition to student concerns surrounding the quality of the program, the lack of transparency throughout the process has been frustrating. The faculty did not let the TAs or students in on the funding cuts. This expresses a need for improved transparency to students broadly, but when the faculty experiencing the cuts is ill-informed, it signals a serious problem.
Budget cuts are often thought of in the abstract but we now have a concrete example of the impact budget cuts can have on students. The two per cent cut is not a massive one but will result in small changes that carry some serious implications.
This is a good indicator of what choices other faculties may be forced to make, but ideally, students will be kept in the loop so they can make well-informed academic decisions moving forward.