News  News Brief: McGill’s $10-million deficit forces cuts

With a deficit of $10-million in the current fiscal year, McGill senators learned yesterday that the University must reduce its operating costs by $12- to $15-million in 2010, given current financial constraints.

McGill Provost Anthony Masi, who announced the need for cuts at yesterday’s Senate meeting, maintained that McGill’s financial plan is cautionary.

“I’d like to emphasize that our revenues are not declining, as they were in the nineties,” he said, “but some expenditures do need to be cut because costs are outpacing revenue.”

As part of an initiative to avoid rising costs, Masi suggested that $1.5-million be cut from teaching assistants and graders.

When Science Senator Andrew Ling asked for clarification on the ramifications of the cuts, Masi stated that greater numbers of students could be assigned to each teaching assistant, and that courses requiring conferences could be scaled down.

Masi also stated that $6-million could be saved by postponing pay-raises to faculty who would otherwise have taken place next year.

“As painful as it may be, we need to look for expenditures that we can cut without compromising our academic quality,” Masi said.

The University is also planning to cut $1-million in information technology spending. and to reduce faculty travel costs.

The Provost’s office hosted town-halls this semester on McGill’s economic situation, and will also direct an “Economic Uncertainty Task Force,” this fall.

— Niko Block