Concordia projects $4-million deficit

September 18, 2008

Concordia University will be making programming and hiring cuts as university administrators are predicting a $4-million deficit. The deficit for the 2008/2009 was originally projected to be $14 million, but after a series of reductions, the shortfall was lowered to under $4 million. The Corcordian, a student newspaper, reported that teaching and research assistants would be affected, but Concordia's vice-president of academic affairs says that won't be the case. After the Quebec government changed the funding formula for university programs in 2006, Concordia experienced a $11-million drop in its revenues. The university's operating costs are rising twice the rate of increase in government funding. A Concordia official says that low tuition is one factor inhibiting the university's growth. The Concordian (student newspaper)

Postscript: The following letter was sent to The Concordian:

Dear Editor,

Concordia's financial situation is complex and difficult to understand, and while I am grateful to Andrew Haig for interviewing me, some key statements in his lead article of September 9 are erroneous and do not reflect what I said during our interview.

What I actually said, simply stated, was as follows.

Concordia University originally projected a budget deficit of approximately $14 million for 2008-09, after a similar deficit in 2007-08. The implementation of a series of focused reductions in some areas allowed us to reduce this projected deficit to some $10M. A further across-the-board 2% reduction, uniformly applied to administrative and academic operations, achieved a further saving of $6M, leaving a final projected shortfall of just under $4M, which was approved by the Board of Governors at its June meeting.

As I said during the interview, Concordia administrators are now having to make some very difficult decisions. One principle we have all applied is to do our utmost to minimize the impact on students and on core academic operations. Inevitably, despite our best efforts, there will be some impact both direct and indirect. To say that teaching assistants are on the chopping block, however, is both wrong and irresponsible.

In closing, I do want to thank Mr Haig for underscoring my remarks concerning the need for students to take some ownership of our structural budgetary problem, which can be permanently solved only if we all work together.

David Graham -- Provost and VP, Academic Affairs