Principal Heather Munroe-Blum delivered a message to the McGill community today, sharply critical of the Quebec government’s demand that universities cut 5.2 per cent from their 2012-13 budgets before the end of April. This would represent a cut of somewhere between $17 million and $21 million for McGill, the Principal said.
“Universities need stability and predictability in their funding to perform,” Munroe-Blum wrote. “Our budget is planned, and approved by our Board of Governors, on the basis of this assumption, for the year in question, at least. It is unprecedented for the government to reverse the financing of universities multiple times within the same year. The announced cut to the operating grant is the third change that the Government of Québec has made in the financing of universities since we set our budget last winter. First, the annual tuition increase, which had been committed to, was reduced; then the increase was cancelled.”
The Principal said she and the senior administration will consult widely with the McGill community and the Board of Governors will meet Dec. 13 to consider McGill’s position. Munroe-Blum said she would report back to the community on McGill’s plans.
“Out of respect for our students, their parents, our teachers, researchers and our staff, our alumni, donors and other partners in the pursuit of our mission, and, the broader community we serve, we are not in a position, responsibly, to accept these cuts,” she said, adding that the reductions “threaten especially the missions of Québec’s research and graduate-student-intensive universities. They also threaten the very future of Québec.”