Keyano layoffs spur concerns over arts education

May 8, 2012

On Friday, Keyano College laid off 20 employees in advance of a budget restructuring, prompting students and alumni to question the Fort McMurray-based institution's commitment to the arts in a city widely known for its industrial and trade opportunities. Early reports circulated on social media and blogs alleged that Keyano officials predominantly laid off visual and performing arts staff with just a few minutes' notice. "That’s categorically untrue," says Keyano's VP academic. "We informed each and every individual verbally and in writing. Nobody was given 15 minutes." Of the 20 individuals laid off, 7 were offered alternate positions within the college, the VP says. Keyano confirms some of the laid-off employees were visual and performing arts faculty, while others were in administrative and support positions. The college says the increasingly low enrolment in several programs prompted a restructuring of funds and reconsideration of the curriculum, which it articulates in an open letter to dispute claims made online by students and arts advocates. The arts program restructuring will happen over the next year and will shift from a diploma to a certificate program. Letter | Edmonton Journal | Fort McMurray Today