http://iffresblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/cropped-sydney_bridge1.jpgBy Peggy Berkowitz. At a time when many universities and colleges are facing severe and unexpected spending cuts by their provincial governments, several are finding political solace in an unexpected place – the mayor’s office. In Alberta, the mayors of the two largest cities have come out swinging on the side of their postsecondary institutions after the province tabled a budget cutting more than seven percent from the universities’ operating spending. In other parts of the country, too, city mayors have been speaking up to support their universities.
“I’ve seen it before,” said Olivier Marcil, vice-principal, external relations, for McGill University, “but it’s clear that more and more cities are really aware of their [universities’] impact.” In Alberta, where universities are facing tough decisions about layoffs, program cuts and salary freezes, Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi publicly urged the province “to realize they made a terrible error in public policy” that will have an impact on “generations of students” as well as the community. Read more...