Senate recap Mar. 27

Principal discusses upcoming provincial elections, provost reveals 2018-19 preliminary budget

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Journal file graphic

The Senate meeting on Mar. 27 touched on a variety of topics, including the upcoming provincial elections, the University’s 2018-19 preliminary budget and an updated Strategic Research Plan.

Principal’s report

In his oral report, Principal Daniel Woolf addressed the upcoming provincial elections with Senate and discussed how each party’s platform approaches postsecondary education. He described initiatives in each platform related to OSAP, mental health resources on campus and increased support for Indigenous students, amongst other things.

Following his address, Senator Eleanor Macdonald asked Woolf about the article he wrote for The Globe and Mail responding to Jordan Peterson’s visit to campus earlier this month. In light of protests that broke out outside of Peterson’s lecture, Woolf defended the choice to have him on campus in his article titled “Why we invited Jordan Peterson to discuss compelled speech.”

Macdonald pointed out the word “we” in the headline as misleading, given that it was an individual professor who invited Peterson to campus rather than the University at large.

Woolf agreed the wording was misleading, telling Macdonald she wasn’t the first one to point it out. He added he had no control over the headline.

IT Investigation report

In a memo to Senate, University Secretary Lon Knox reported the results of an IT investigation following a potential breach of security. Concerns about security emerged earlier this month when an open letter  addressed to Woolf regarding Peterson’s visit was leaked.

Peterson posted the letter to Twitter and “the posting initially appeared to have taken place before the letter was circulated to a broader group of recipients,” Knox wrote.

However, IT’s investigation revealed that no breach occurred, as the tweet was simply time stamped in Pacific Time rather than Eastern Standard Time.

2018-19 preliminary operating budget

Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon presented the preliminary operating budget for the 2018-19 academic year to Senate. The operating budget accounts for 63.2 per cent of the University’s total budget and is mainly made up of student fees and government funding.

For 2018-19, the University’s revenues totaled $595.5 million. This is an increase of $40.3 million, or 7.3 per cent, over 2017-18. It’s the highest revenue increase in the past five years.

According to Bacon, the revenue mainly comes from tuition fee increases and enrollment growth, especially from international students. Other revenue sources include government grants, student fees and investment income.

The University’s funds allocated to faculties and schools increased by $29.1 million from last year, mainly due to investments in research, especially in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

Bacon also announced the University is expecting to hire for 54 tenure track positions in 2018-19 which, if successful, would be 20 more positions filled than this year. This comes from the University’s plan to hire 200 tenure-track professors by 2022.

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