Alberta Politics

University students and staff rally against Advanced Education cuts.

Hundreds of University of Alberta students and staff marched to the Alberta Legislature to protest cuts to the Advanced Education budget.

Hundreds of students and staff from the University of Alberta marched to the Alberta Legislature yesterday to protest the 7% cut to the Advanced Education budget. Students and staff were joined by Liberal leader Raj Sherman, NDP MLA Rachel Notley, and NDP MP Linda Duncan.

In response to the provincial budget cuts, University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera has asked each Faculty Dean to submit, by the end of March, a plan that will involve a 20% budget reduction for the 2014-2016 period.

Similar cuts are expected to take place at Alberta’s other Universities and Colleges.

See more photos here.

13 replies on “University students and staff rally against Advanced Education cuts.”

Judging from the number of red squares in the photo, it appears that the students in Alberta have learned the lessons of the students in Quebec.

And what are some of the lessons learned? First of all, the neoliberal austerity ideology will be forced on the most vulnerable and least powerful in our society: the poor, the unemployed, the sick, seniors and students amongst others. Secondly, if you don’t stand up for your rights, you will lose them.

Good luck to the students in their struggle.

Dave: How many hundreds? Mainstream meadia have reported the same thing as you … that “hundreds” were there. But, obviously, there’s a significant difference between, say, 200 and 900, or 200 and 19 hundren! Inquiring minds want to know. BD

It looked to me like the number was probably close to a thousand as we arrived at the legislature. But it was freezing and some people did not stay to the end of the speeches. There were at least 500 people at the teach-in that preceded the march. I hope that CAPSE will be holding frequent protests and that what was largely a U of A event (with a significant complement of Athabasca University faculty and professionals) will incorporate the other Edmonton-area institutions. Anger is bound to build as the cuts in program choices and numbers of students allowed entry, availability of classes, and increases in various fees are rolled out. An eight percent cut relative to inflation (7.4 percent cut in current dollars plus about .6 percent inflation)is going to hurt.

And the question to be asked is why is it necessary in a province where growth is expected to be 3 percent this year and where salaries are expected to rise by 4 percent,that the post-secondary sector gets a huge cut and at the same time the K to 12 sector takes a cut as well, albeit a smaller one? The low taxes on the wealthy and the corporate sector in Alberta, including a ridiculous giveaway royalty regime (Sarah Palin as governor of Alaska was a socialist compared to this Alberta regime when it comes to dealing with the resource giants) are the reason. Either that changes, or the entire education system in Alberta, which has been struggling for a generation, is going to be weakened further, and accessibility of post-secondary education will be restricted to those with deep pockets.

Good for post secondary to fight this government’s brutal cuts. Wish the ATA would stand up to this government. I’m sure everyone is upset with the ATA’s lack of a backbone.

Restricting educational funding is a dangerous thing that warps the lives of young people forever. I lived in Pittsburgh for awhile and witnessed the after effects of what happens when an external event interferes with a student’s ability or desire to go to university. In the 1950s young boys dropped out of high school to do unskilled labour in the steel mills. Once the steel mills closed there was rampant unemployment. Some of the (now middle aged) men were able to retrain, but the unskilled broom pushers ended up mowing lawns and shoveling walks for a living.
A single engine economy which suffers boom and bust cycles is unsustainable. Issuing “mandate letters” to universities to “encourage” them to stream young people into the industry and cutting funding to make the teaching curricula more “efficient” is not only stupid, it’s downright suicidal.

For those of you that ascribe to a dumb society with no training, education or global competitiveness, don’t whine and cry, once the jobs are gone oversees to China or India or other nations that are poised for Global Dominance.

While they quietly surpass the Western World in Brain Power, our children one day, will pay the price of eternal subservience on the very ground they were raised, yes they WILL. Don’t think it won’t happen. An education is an investment in our future and necessary to maintain strong, capitalism and a healthy productive society. A poorly educated population is a huge financial drain on society and plunders the bottomline.

Bashing students and education, be careful what you wish for you. You might get and other un intended consequences.

The rally was Friday? I’m assuming it was a no-school day for those 600 students, otherwise the irony of cutting classes to protest cuts to education funding would be simply overwhelming.

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