Gut­ting MUN will not solve N.L.’s fi­nan­cial woes

The Pilot - - Editorial -

Any­one who cares about the fu­ture of New­found­land and Labrador must be alarmed by the prov­ince’s as­sault on our only univer­sity. Rus­sell Wanger­sky’s May 14 col­umn il­lus­trates the sit­u­a­tion starkly. On one hand, we have sus­tained cuts to Me­mo­rial’s op­er­at­ing bud­get; on the other, ris­ing costs, re­flect­ing both in­fla­tion and a crum­bling in­fras­truc­ture that puts MUN’s work­ers and stu­dents in harm’s way. Me­mo­rial’s se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion sees in­creased tuition fees as a means to close the gap, but the gov­ern­ing Lib­er­als have made it clear they will re­spond by re­duc­ing the trans­fer pay­ment such that ev­ery dol­lar gained in tuition fees is matched by one dol­lar less in MUN’s grant from the gov­ern­ment.

Me­mo­rial’s stu­dent unions rightly point out that af­ford­able tuition is a ma­jor draw — both to a prov­ince fac­ing a deficit of young peo­ple and to a city that a re­cent study places at the bot­tom of a live­abil­ity list for young Canadians. And that’s leav­ing aside wider ar­gu­ments for af­ford­able tuition, the de­mands of so­cial jus­tice and the long-term eco­nomic ben­e­fits of an ed­u­cated pop­u­la­tion among them. MUNFA, the union rep­re­sent­ing Me­mo­rial’s aca­demic staff, agrees that we must pro­tect Me­mo­rial’s broad ac­ces­si­bil­ity. But, with our stu­dents, we be­lieve the gov­ern­ment must match its pro­tec­tion of tuition fair­ness with a com­mit­ment to the in­sti­tu­tion’s vi­a­bil­ity as a cen­tre of teach­ing and re­search.

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