UPDATE, March 11, 2013: An earlier version of this FAQ stated that the proposed cuts were between 13% and 20% of the total Faculty of Fine Arts budget. Based on new information, I have corrected it to indicate that they are actually between 15% and 20% of the $3.9 million non-salary and non-permanent budget within the Faculty of Fine Arts, for total cuts of $585,000 to $780,000. I apologize for the misinterpretation.

Budget Cuts

Fine Arts has an overall budget of $29.3 million. Fine Arts students make up approximately 9% of the student population but consume 15% of the overall budget, and the cuts are being made based on how much of the budget we use. Dean of Fine Arts Catherine Wild has suggested that the cuts will eliminate  between 15% and 20% of Fine Arts $3.9 million non-salary and non-permanent budget, which works out to between $585,000 and $780,000 million in cuts. As the business year for Concordia starts May 1st, the timetable for implementing these cuts is very short. As part of these cuts, a maximum of 1-3 course sections could be eliminated per department for a total of 25 course sections at a savings of $250,000. Here’s Ned’s report from the February 15th Faculty of Fine Arts Council meeting, which includes some details on the proposed budget cuts.

UPDATE, March 14, 2013: Thanks to the engagement of our student community and a concerted effort on the part of faculty in the Department of Theatre, TDEV 498B/C (Designing and Conducting an Acting Workshop) and TPER 201/202 (Introduction to Acting I and II) will be offered this summer! CAST’s executive received confirmation of this good news from full-time faculty member and Theatre Performance advisor, Ulla Neuerburg-Denzer, in a brief meeting this afternoon. While the online course schedule is not yet entirely accurate, the reinstatement of these courses has been approved by the Dean’s Office and they will be available for registration soon.

Theatre faculty have proposed some other course cuts in order to meet their required targets. These include one winter section of TPER 201 (Introduction to Acting I), a new special topics course, THEA 498Z (New Russian Drama), and one semester’s PROD 311F (Student Initiated Project Assignment) section. This means that, as was the case this year, there will only be SIPAs in one semester. While regrettable, this is not unexpected. CAST is pleased that our faculty have worked to preserve existing course offerings rather than introducing further cuts.

Faculty Strike

Members of the Concordia University Faculty Association (CUFA), which represents full-time faculty, voted Thursday, February 28th through Friday, March 8th on whether or not to enter into an unlimited strike mandate. As of Sunday, March 10th, the Montreal Gazette reports that CUFA has voted 74% in favour of their strike mandate. According to the Gazette story, if strike action is to take place we will receive 48 hours notice.

To be clear: this does not mean that a strike will necessarily take place. The Concordia University Part-Time Faculty Association (CUPFA) has had an unlimited strike mandate since last November but have not exercised their right to strike yet. Now that CUFA has issued an unlimited strike mandate, it means that they have the right to begin a strike if negotiations do not go well. The strike mandate is a bargaining tool, not a guarantee that a strike is imminent. The earliest a strike could begin is March 20th (48 hours following the next scheduled day of negotiations between CUFA and Concordia’s administration).

In the event of a strike, CUFA members (our professors) are limited in what information they can share with students. For details, see the “Teaching issues” section of CUFA’s strike FAQ.

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