College funding cuts hurt students

Concern over BC government cuts to post-secondary education.

As you may have heard, the B.C. government is cutting its funding to post-secondary education by $70 million over the next three years. These new cuts, plus cuts from previous years, have resulted in a budget deficit of over $1 million for Selkirk College.  The government claims that this new budget can be met through only administrative cuts, but the presidents of the 25 publicly funded universities and colleges in B.C. disagree.

The truth is, the ever-shrinking budget has finally resulted in the loss of services. On March 5 the Selkirk College administration announced that all of the second-year science courses (including math and economics), the entire Engineering and Philosophy programs and the second years of the three two-year arts degrees offered at the Kootenay School of the Arts were being cut due to lack of funding. Although the administration also claims that this will not affect the courses still offered, I know that I would not have attended Selkirk if I had not been able to complete two years of study, and I have spoken to many first-year students who feel the same. These cuts will cost Selkirk revenue and students that it cannot afford to lose.

The budget may make them necessary, but the programs lost should not be those at the heart of Selkirk’s mission and success.

On behalf of everyone who benefits from the continued success of Selkirk College, I am standing up and asking the government to value it as much as I do. If you value an available post-secondary education for students of all ages and walks of life, respect for enthusiastic teachers and many benefits for the entire Kootenay region, I ask that you stand up with me and help to ensure that Selkirk College is here in the years to come to continue giving back to all of us. Sign the petition at www.change.org/petitions/minister-of-advanced-education-reject-proposed-course-suspensions-address-funding-needs-of-rural-colleges, join the Save Our Selkirk Facebook group and come out to support us as we address the board of governors at their meeting on Tuesday March 27, 4:30 p.m. in the Pit at the Castlegar Campus (with dinner afterwards generously provided by the Selkirk College Students’ Union) as we ask them to repeal the cuts and work with us to secure Selkirk’s future.

Arielle Roberts

Castlegar