News

Exec Blog: April 2015

Hello fellow AUSU members,

If you are following Alberta news at all, you will have noted that because of the decreasing price of oil, Alberta has been making changes. It was widely thought that the government would cut AU’s budget by as high as 9%. In the end we know the government chose to cut AU’s funding by 5% over the next two years. During this process AU tried to submit a budget for this fiscal year that ran a deficit. The government made it clear they would not accept it. That triggered a lot of work by stakeholders throughout the university to put together a balanced budget. Our own VPFA, Corrina Green, worked tirelessly on the budget committee as our representative. The budget has now been approved by AU’s Board of Governors and AU is moving forward this fiscal year under the approved budget. However the budget, budgets for deficits for the next 2 years. The Alberta Government will not accept these kinds of deficits going forward, meaning something needs to be done about AU’s financial situation.

AU’s President Dr. Peter MacKinnon has made it clear that AU has a sustainability problem and under the current funding model adjustments must be made. This is something, in my 3 years on AUSU’s Executive and as a member of AU’s Board of Governors that has concerned many of us for a while. Dr. MacKinnon has made it clear that he will be addressing this issue and I have every confidence that he will.

In order to address the situation, Dr. Mackinnon, with the Board’s endorsement has put together a task force that is focused on AU’s sustainability. This task force has been kept very small to allow it to quickly and efficiently work on the problem. I was appointed as the student representative on the task force, which started its work just a few weeks ago. We are working through the recommendations and options in regards to sustainability with the goal of providing recommendations to the AU community by June 2015.

It is important that all members of the AU community have an opportunity to express their views – as individuals or in collectives – on the sustainability of our university. I urge you to send the task force an email with your thoughts on or ideas for AU’s sustainability to: [email protected], or communicate with me as your representative on the task force at: [email protected].

I believe that this task force is a major step forward by AU. It will begin to tackle this issue that has caused our university to struggle for a while now. I want to thank Dr. Mackinnon for his ongoing leadership, and dedication to seeking input from all stakeholders and bringing forth some solutions on AU’s sustainability issue. I look forward to being able to share the recommendations with students in the future as well as updates on how the task force is progressing.

Jason Nixon
AUSU President