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Interim President's Friday Message

Updated on Sep 25
Tags: community, all updates

Dear members of the University community,

Budget update

In my last two Friday messages, I touched on the fiscal challenge posed by COVID-19’s effects on campus operations.

We are projecting a 2020-2021 budget shortfall of $13.5 million that stems from lost income in residences and parking ($4 million each), English as a Second Language and the Conservatory ($2.5 million), and waived student fees ($3 million).

Universities from coast to coast are facing similar shortfalls. In a recent Maclean’s article, Sadiya Ansari provides an overview of the Canadian postsecondary landscape in the COVID-19 era. “The country’s postsecondary schools,” she writes, “have been struggling mightily since the pandemic hit. The University of British Columbia, for instance, is projecting a $138-million loss in tuition.”

Other Canadian universities, large and small, face similar challenges. For example, CBC reports that Cape Breton University – roughly a third the size of the University of Regina – is coping with a $16.6 million drop in revenue. After exhausting its entire reserve fund and implementing cost-cutting measures, CBU anticipates a shortfall of $6 million.

At the University of Regina, we are focused on two things: addressing the current fiscal-year shortfall without job loss, and planning for the fiscal year 2021-22 and beyond. In doing so, we are seeking input from all areas of campus, and all constituencies — students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

In coming months, I will keep the campus posted on the steps we are taking to address the challenge, and the progress we are making.

I am confident, that working together, the University of Regina community will surmount these challenges and emerge stronger than ever.

A thank-you for your efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 poses more than financial challenges for Canadian universities. It remains a potent threat to the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.

Although not nearly as severe as outbreaks at American universities, the nearly 50 cases of COVID-19 at Western University bring the threat to Canadian campuses into sharp focus. Likewise, the news earlier this week of cases at Wilfrid Laurier University underscores the importance of continued vigilance and quick action.

In our province and indeed on our campuses to date, we have been fortunate. Saskatchewan’s low population density is a factor, but we must also credit the collective efforts taken province-wide to reduce the spread of the virus. At our University, we continue to benefit from measures such as limiting the number and size of in-person classes, working remotely whenever possible, and wearing masks indoors and where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

That said, COVID-19 has not gone away. It is present in the community. Especially as we approach flu season, we must work together to prevent the virus’ spread, safeguarding our own health and that of those around us.

Thank you for your continuing efforts in this regard!

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1933-2020

As readers will know, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court passed away last week. Early in her long and illustrious career, she taught in the law schools at Rutgers and Columbia. Her formidable intellect is legendary, as is the clarity with which she wrote and delivered her judgements.

A 2017 conversation Justice Ginsburg had with Dean Katherine Baiker of the School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago provides a glimpse of that clarity. Among the many topics Justice Ginsburg touches on are gender-based discrimination and unconscious bias. At 21’50” of the conversation, she speaks to these topics with the precision, deftness, and quiet humour that earned her so many admirers in the U.S. and abroad.

With her passing, the American people have lost a great Supreme Court justice, and the world a truly remarkable mind.

Sincerely,

Thomas Chase

Interim President and Vice-Chancellor