BU leaves 17 positions vacant


Advertise with us

Hamstrung by troubles with its defined benefit pension plan, Brandon University was forced to balance its $50-million budget this year by leaving 17 positions vacant and sacrificing some work it hoped to do in the area of student recruitment.

Read this article for free:


Already have an account? Log in here »

We need your support!
Local journalism needs your support!

As we navigate through unprecedented times, our journalists are working harder than ever to bring you the latest local updates to keep you safe and informed.

Now, more than ever, we need your support.

Starting at $14.99 plus taxes every four weeks you can access your Brandon Sun online and full access to all content as it appears on our website.

Subscribe Now

or call circulation directly at (204) 727-0527.

Your pledge helps to ensure we provide the news that matters most to your community!

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/05/2011 (4406 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Hamstrung by troubles with its defined benefit pension plan, Brandon University was forced to balance its $50-million budget this year by leaving 17 positions vacant and sacrificing some work it hoped to do in the area of student recruitment.

A recent review of the university’s defined benefit pension plan uncovered $32.5-million worth of unfunded liability, a term used to describe the shortfall the university’s plan would experience if all eligible pensions needed to be paid off at any given time.

A required payment of $3.126 million on that unfunded liability this year meant that the university faced a total $5.5-million shortfall going into final budget deliberations last week.

While it was able to secure approximately $1.6 million in government grants and cover off an additional $2.2 million through the use of surplus funds, the university was still forced to make $1.7 million in cuts.

“There are 17 positions that we expect to not fill — about half of them are teaching positions and the other half of them are administrative positions,” explains BU vice-president of finance and administration Scott Lamont.

Still, the university has promised that, through the use of sessional instructors, no student will be forced to extend their post-secondary studies beyond their current graduation schedule.

“We’ve been able to find a way to manage and find the teaching power that’s required,” he said. “If we don’t fill a position, we then go through the courses that that position would have normally taught and we try to make sure that the courses that are absolutely going to be required in order for students to graduate on time are filled.

“I think the university has managed to balance the budget in ways that have had a relatively small impact on the services and the teaching that students get.”

While the Brandon University Students’ Union has indicated it understands that much of the budget pain this year was out of the university’s control, it is worried that students’ quality of education will suffer.

“We already face challenges as a relatively small institution,” said BUSU’s vice-president, Jonathan Keen. “We managed to fill all the positions that were really key in terms of people graduating, but it’s pretty bare bones when you look at a lot of departments and how they are operating.”

With BU’s tuition set to increase by the rate of inflation (one per cent) this fall and most ancillary fees set to rise by an average of five per cent, Keen said students are essentially paying more to get less.

“Students are dealing with a poorer-quality education, relative to previous years,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that these kinds of market fluctuations will dictate our education so much that we’re not getting the kind of support we need.”

But the university has had to sacrifice, too, Lamont said, pointing to work in the area of aboriginal recruitment that will simply have to wait for another year.

“We want to make sure that we’re still out there, in the community, letting people who aren’t currently students of Brandon University know that we’re here and that we have good programs,” Lamont said. “So this worries us a little bit more.”

The university has also had to put off hiring an institutional analyst, he said, which was a position administration had hoped could put some context to why students leave Brandon University.

“It’s pretty clear that in this (budgeting) process, the university has kept students in the front of our mind and tried to make sure that the services that they need when they come to this institution, they’re going to be able to get.”

Moving forward, the university’s pension plan must now be re-evaluated on a yearly basis until all its unfunded liability is cleared off, which must be done in 15 years or less.

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us