Capilano University arts program cuts spark backlash

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      Capilano University has prompted protests with its plan to cut two contemporary-art programs as it seeks to eliminate a $1.3-million budget shortfall.

      An online petition has been launched calling on university administration to reconsider the proposal to halt the studio art and textile arts diploma programs.

      “The Studio Art students at Capilano University are deeply upset and angered by the decision to cut the program without consultation, option or discussion,” reads the petition.

      “Studio Art and Textiles offer a unique hands-on experience that is difficult to find at any other institution in Vancouver.”

      “They also have specialized facilities including the bronze foundry and the digital loom that are incredibly rare in Canadian post-secondary institutions.”

      The online petition had more than 1,100 supporters as of midday Friday (April 26).

      The studio arts and textile art programs are included in a series of programs and courses the university said will be “suspended.”

      Under the plan, admission would no longer be offered for new students into the two-year diploma programs.

      However, students in the second year of a two-year program will be able to finish their studies.

      The university is required under provincial legislation to deliver a balanced budget.

      “Rather than do across-the-board cuts, which affect quality for every student, we are suspending intakes in some programs and reducing classes in some areas,” reads a statement on the university’s website.

      “There will also be no increase to services, staffing, and equipment and some capital projects will be suspended.”

      “These actions were required to eliminate the projected $1.3 million shortfall and to prepare for the current fiscal challenges facing the entire post-secondary sector.”

      The university’s board of governors is expected to make a decision on the cuts on May 14.




      Apr 27, 2013 at 10:39am

      Why didn't the University consult with faculty and student groups, as it has for decades, before proposing the most dramatic austerity measures on the campus in it's long history? Why does the administration believe it can determine the fate of the institution without talking to the people to whom it belongs?


      Apr 27, 2013 at 10:56am

      The administration has set the tone for these cuts: no dialogue, no transparency, no respect. So this is the kind of response they should get in return: swift, forceful, and direct. Faculty should withdraw from all committees, refuse to submit grades, or answer email or phone calls. Students should occupy their classrooms and buildings. Lessons can be learned from the student protests in California in 2009. Move quickly while people are paying attention!!!

      Alan Layton

      Apr 27, 2013 at 9:50pm

      I read that when Capilano was granted university status, by Gordon Campbell in 2008, that a number of other colleges were granted university status at the same time. All have had to make staff and program cuts as a result. I have no idea why upgrading means cuts, but it looks to me like the Liberal's took advantage of the ambitions of college administrators and board members, in order to cut their funding and freeze their budgets.

      Martin Dunphy

      Apr 28, 2013 at 12:59am

      Alan Layton:

      Gordon Campbell's sister, Catherine, was dean of business at Cap College when he made it a university

      Dilf Ledbetter

      Apr 28, 2013 at 3:57pm

      Because I guess we need more administrators, accountants, lawyers, and psych majors; so fuck arts b/c we're all robots.


      Apr 30, 2013 at 8:30am

      rather than do their job and raise some money, they're just going to ax extremely valuable programs. I know a couple of successful textile art alum and they report not having gotten a phone call from the University trying to raise money to save their program. I run a very involved art/food/coffee business on the North Shore and I didn't recieve a phone call or letter either. Hmm. This is a major failure on the part of the University administration I very frankly think there should be some resignations.