Layoffs, buyouts at Athabasca University
Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013 06:00 am
Athabasca University has laid off 44 people and offered a buy out to another 35 staffers as a direct result of the shortfall in the provincial government budget.
In a press release circulated on Friday afternoon, AU communications officer John O’Brien cited the budget shortfall as the reason for the job cuts at the university.
“The university received a 7.2-per-cent decrease in next year’s Campus Alberta Operating Grant in the March 7, 2013 provincial budget. This represents a revenue shortfall of $3.7 million. In addition, the university’s capital grant was cut by $1.7 million,” reads the release.
“The Athabasca University Board of Governors today passed a budget for fiscal 2013-2014 that will see 44 layoffs at the university. Another 35 employees have chosen to voluntarily leave their positions at the university using the Career Transition Program.”
Half the jobs cut will directly impact positions in Athabasca, and the other 50 per cent of cuts will occur in Edmonton.
O’Brien said there are cuts all across the university.
“There are some facility, academic, management and support positions,” he said.
The university services more than 40,000 students worldwide on a yearly basis on an operating budget of $128 million.
Mark McCutcheon from the Athabasca University Faculty Association (AUFA) said they will know more about the situation next week, but noted that they are not pleased with the news of the cuts.
“As an association we are outraged at the extent of the administration’s proposed layoffs,” he said.
In addition, 34 vacant positions (which had been subjected to a hiring freeze) have been cut.
In a press release, AU president Frits Pannekoek commented on the changes in staffing.
“We had counted, as had all the post-secondaries, on a two-per-cent increase in this year’s operating grant as promised in last year’s provincial budget,” said Pannekoek.
“We were instead surprised with a deep cut, and we have been left with no other choice than to eliminate positions.”