Fair Funding for TRU: Meeting our MLAs

This fall, the TRUFA Communications Committee has been campaigning to raise awareness about TRU’s chronic underfunding issue. To this end, we spearheaded a successful petition that we urged students, faculty, staff and community members to sign. We received well over 1,00 signatures!

Read about our campaign in the Omega here

After many successful petition-signing events hosted by the TRU Faculty Association (including the KDLC Labour Day picnic, the TRU Welcome Back BBQ, the TRUFA faculty BBQ, and many tabling events in both Kamloops and Williams Lake), the TRUFA Communications Committee has now embarked on the next step in our ‘Fair Funding for TRU’ campaign. On Friday, November 10th, TRU Faculty Association President, Tom Friedman, met with Kamloops MLA Peter Milobar. At the meeting, Milobar was presented with the over 1,000 signatures from TRU students, faculty, staff and community members calling for reliable, sustainable an adequate provincial funding for TRU. This meeting was the first of three that we hope to have with local MLAs to present the issues and ask for their support. We will also be meeting with Kamloops MLA, Todd Stone, and Williams Lake MLA, Donna Barnett, in the near future.

The meeting with MLA Milobar was successful and encouraging. In the videos below, taken directly before and after the meeting with Peter Milobar, TRUFA President Tom Friedman discusses what he hoped to accomplish in the meeting and how the meeting unfolded. Please watch to find out what happened!

Before meeting with Kamloops MLA Peter Milobar on November 10th

After meeting with Kamloops MLA Peter Milobar on November 10th

In addition to the over 1,000 signatures presented to Peter Milobar, a brief review of the funding situation was included in the package presented to our local MLA. The full document is below for your perusal:

 

TRU is Chronically Underfunded

Did you know?

  • Ever since the University College of the Cariboo officially became Thompson Rivers University in 2005, the Ministry of Advanced Education funding formula governing the provincial grant to TRU has remained stagnant. The result? 12 years of running a research and graduate university on community college funding.

 

  • In 2015-2016 TRU placed 20th out of 25 universities in British Columbia in actual per-student funding and received $1500 less in per-student funding than the BC average. Across the more than 8000 full-time students at TRU, this reality translates as over $80 million of underfunding in the last 5 years alone. (source: http://trusu.ca/advocacy/fundthefuture/)

(source: http://trusu.ca/advocacy/fundthefuture/)

  • Thompson Rivers University contributes $355 million per year to the regional economy and $650 million per year for the province of British Columbia. Clearly, this university is a tremendous economic driver for the region. However, that economic engine could be far greater—with adequate and sustainable provincial funding. (source: http://trusu.ca/advocacy/fundthefuture/)

 

  • Dollar for dollar, public investment in post-secondary education is one of the most beneficial investments. Government investment boosts our local and provincial economies, trains our future leaders and workers, and provides educational access for rural communities. It’s a win-win situation.

 

The result of chronic underfunding?

Underfunding has resulted in:

  • larger class sizes,
  • fewer course offerings,
  • hefty tuition increases,
  • pressure on student support services
  • over-reliance on contract faculty.

Even worse, TRU has not been able to fulfill its legislated mandate in the TRU Act to serve the educational needs of our entire region.

For example, TRU’s Williams Lake campus (along with programs in smaller centres such as Lillooet, Lytton, Barriere, Clearwater), has experienced course cancellations and program cuts as a direct result of this underfunding.  A lack of resources has resulted in TRU finding it impossible to meet its mandate of providing regional educational opportunities.

A revision of the funding formula is long overdue.

The TRU Faculty Association (TRUFA) Communications Committee ‘Fair Funding for TRU’ campaign has focussed on raising awareness among TRU students, staff, faculty and community members regarding the chronic underfunding of our institution. To this end, we developed a petition that members of the TRU and the broader regional community have signed at our many events on campus and within the community. To date, we have gathered over 1,000 signatures from those concerned about our university. These constituents have spoken clearly: TRU needs sustainable, appropriate and reliable provincial funding.

We need your help!

The TRU Faculty Association is meeting with three MLAs who represent our region—Todd Stone and Peter Milobar in Kamloops and Donna Barnett in Williams Lake—to present these petitions and to ask for their support for a review of the Ministry of Advanced Education funding formula.  Kamloops and Williams Lake and our region deserves better!

Sustainable, adequate and reliable provincial finding for Thompson Rivers University just makes sense. It’s in the best interests of our local families and students, our communities, our region, and our province. It’s time for all of us to work toward that goal!

 

 
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