Memo details massive cuts to Queen’s University’s Arts and Science budget

Click to play video: 'Faculty of Arts & Science memo details plans to eliminate $30M deficit'
Faculty of Arts & Science memo details plans to eliminate $30M deficit
A memo from the Faculty of Arts & Science Dean details plan's to eliminate a $30M deficit over the next two budget years. Austerity measures include a hiring freeze – Nov 27, 2023

Faced with a lengthy tuition freeze and a $60M deficit, Queen’s University is introducing a series of austerity measures to cut costs.

A memo from Faculty of Arts & Science Dean Barbara Crow to department heads, directors and chairs claims their share of that deficit is $30M.

The memo also details a range of actions from deferring faculty hires to stopping non-essential renovations in the 2024/25 and 2025/26 budget years.

Fourth year Arts & Science student Amber Mifkovic worries about the impact the cost cuts.

“Students just frankly are appalled by what’s going to be happening,” said Mifkovic. “We’re in a hiring freeze right now we’re not allowed to hire any new professors.”

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The Dean’s memo also suggests cutting courses with low enrolments.

Teaching assistant Ethan Chilcott is a fifth year in Arts & Science student and says he’s concerned the cuts will affect the education students receive.

“All these cuts will significantly decrease the quality of the education at Queen’s which doesn’t seem like a good long term strategy when they’re trying to draw in more students,” said Chilcott.

Dean Crow’s memo reveals the Arts & Science budget will be slashed by $12M in the 2024/25 budget year and $18M in the 2025/26 budget year.

A statement provided by Queen’s University reads,  “Queen’s operating budget has been impacted by several factors including the 2019 cut and subsequent freeze of tuition for Ontario students by the provincial government, the reduction in internal enrolment post-pandemic, and inflationary pressures.”

Chilcott says the Faculty of Arts and Science financial woes go beyond the reasons listed by the university.

“They’ll blame the tuition freeze and they’ll blame inflation, but the thing is, of the twenty two universities in Ontario only eight of them are running deficits right now and Queen’s is by far the largest,” said Chilcott.

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Chilcott is also upset by the University’s communication efforts.

“I can’t stress enough how upset I would be if I was an incoming student and I hadn’t been told that these changes were happening,” said Chilcott.

Further discussions on the specifics of the cuts will take place on December 11, when the provost will attend a town hall meeting  with the Faculty of Arts & Science department heads, directors and chairs.

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