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10 jobs lost, 2 departments merged as Mount Royal University grapples with budget

Mount Royal University in Calgary.
Mount Royal University in Calgary. Global News

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 after MRU announced more positions had been eliminated.

Ten jobs have been eliminated at Calgary’s Mount Royal University as two departments are being merged into one as “part of an overall process to reduce costs.”

According to an email sent to all staff on Monday, and obtained by Global News, the department of Student Affairs and Campus Life (SACL) was being folded into the Academic Affairs department.

The merge means the position of SACL vice-president (currently held by Steve Fitterer), along with four other positions, were eliminated on Monday.

“I know I speak for many when I say the contributions these individuals made at Mount Royal are deeply appreciated,” MRU president and vice-chancellor Timothy Rahilly said in the email.

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READ MORE: 250 jobs being eliminated at University of Calgary following 2019 Alberta budget

The remaining employees from the SACL department will report to Phil Warsaba, who becomes vice-provost and associate vice-president of Student Affairs, and will hire an executive director, Rahilly said.

“I remain very committed to the work being done in the Student Affairs portfolio,” he said. “Supporting students to achieve their academic and personal goals is critical. We must also have a diverse campus that is welcoming and full of opportunities for people to flourish.”

In an emailed statement to Global News, MRU spokesperson Peter Glenn said: “Mount Royal University is eliminating positions as part of an overall process to reduce costs.

“These are difficult decisions but we must adjust while preserving the quality of students’ programs and services and ensuring access for Alberta learners.”

Students rally at Alberta legislature to protest post-secondary cuts
Students rally at Alberta legislature to protest post-secondary cuts

More cuts announced Tuesday

On Tuesday, the MRU announced it is eliminating five more positions in addition to the five it eliminated a day earlier. The post-secondary institution will also not fill up to 15 more vacant positions.

“There will be no other layoffs planned in the calendar year, but unfortunately, I must tell you we have more budget work to do, which will inevitably result in the elimination of more positions in 2020,” MRU president Timothy Rahilly said in a staff email obtained by Global News on Tuesday.

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The department of academic affairs faced three layoffs. Finance and administration, and university advancement received one job cut each.

In the email, Rahilly acknowledged that 70 per cent of the university’s operating costs were in salaries and benefits, and that the institution “can’t reduce costs in other areas enough to close the 2019-20 budget gap.”

“Beyond the 2019-20 fiscal year, we don’t yet have enough information from the government and so we are seeking clarification.”

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Rahilly said the university is continuing to reduce other costs and is looking to increase revenues.

Staff were encouraged to attend or tune into a town hall meeting on Thursday at 10 a.m. to learn more about how the university plans to move forward budget-wise.

Last week, the University of Calgary said it was eliminating 250 jobs as part of a restructuring following the 2019 Alberta budget.