MUN bud­get doesn’t de­serve cuts

The Compass - - Editorial - Pat Cullen is a jour­nal­ist who lives in Carbonear. She can be reached at 596-1505 or cullen.pat1@gmail.com.

She also ex­pressed some skep­ti­cism about the uni­ver­sity’s pur­chase and ren­o­va­tion of the Bat­tery Ho­tel.

“MUNFA has al­ways won­dered about the logic of do­ing that,” she said.

The Bat­tery was bought and ren­o­vated for roughly $25 mil­lion with the help of fed­eral money. It is still un­der­go­ing work. One of its ob­jec­tives is to gen­er­ate rev­enue for the uni­ver­sity from the rents charged to the grad­u­ate stu­dents housed there and the mon­eys col­lected from out­side groups that are ex­pected to host con­fer­ences and other func­tions. It will cre­ate space and elim­i­nate costly leas­ing ar­range­ments with land­lords.

Sorensen: “We’ve got sev­eral units, phar­macy be­ing one who rent space off-cam­pus now, so we’re ac­tu­ally pay­ing land­lords about a mil­lion-dol­lars-a-year in rental space, just to house our peo­ple off-cam­pus.”

It will also be home to in­no­va­tion cen­tres rang­ing from the so­cial to the tech­no­log­i­cal and the uni­ver­sity hopes the public will ex­press a deep in­ter­est in the work of their re­searchers and stu­dents. It should be fully open next spring. The uni­ver­sity ex­pects the fa­cil­ity to pay for it­self. Only time will tell.

Gerry Byrne should never have slashed fund­ing to Me­mo­rial, and Me­mo­rial should be more con­sci­en­tious as to the way it han­dles public money. Cut­ting out pricey meals in up­scale restau­rants and other fool­ish­ness is one so­lu­tion and clos­ing the Har­low cam­pus in Eng­land is prob­a­bly an­other.

Too many young peo­ple are grad­u­at­ing to­day with mul­ti­t­hou­sand dol­lar loans. The money MUN spends on many of its frills could be used for grant money-to help those strug­gling to pay ex­penses from the so­cial wel­fare cheques of fam­ily mem­bers.

It will be scan­dalous if Byrne’s bud­get cuts re­duces the cal­i­bre of our uni­ver­sity grad­u­ates. It will be equally scan­dalous if Me­mo­rial loses sight of its real pur­pose — to pro­vide our young peo­ple with the qual­ity teach­ing and re­search op­por­tu­ni­ties so they can take their place with the best of them.

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