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University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Wednesday, May 22, 1996

Budget approved, with opposition

UW's senate met last night, discussed the 1996-97 budget for the university, and formally recommended it to the board of governors -- but not without some dissent. In the end the vote was close enough that there had to be a careful counting of hands before the motion was declared carried.

The budget for the current year, as approved last month by the senate finance committee, calls for spending of $173 million, considerably down from last year's level because of cuts in government grants. With the help of the early retirement program, departments are suffering a general 7 per cent spending cut.

One feature of the budget that drew unfavourable comment last night is a plan to have UW's parking operation make a profit, for the first time, and contribute $350,000 to the university's operating fund. Fees at coin parking lots have already gone up, and an increase in the monthly rate from $14 to $20 is expected, though it hasn't been officially announced.

The issue of faculty pay

Another point of controversy last night was the lack of any provision in the budget for pay increases. "Any increase would have to be the result of negotiation," UW provost Jim Kalbfleisch told the finance committee when it was considering the budget late in April. Negotiations between management and the staff association are under way; faculty salary negotiations have been delayed because of the vote on faculty association unionization, which has now been disposed of.

Several senate members insisted last night that UW has no right to adopt a budget that doesn't provide funds for "progress through the ranks" (PTR, or "merit") increases for faculty members. Fred McCourt of the chemistry department read from Policy 11, UW's policy on faculty salaries, which says that money is to be made available for PTR increases each year even if it means "applying a negative scale change" to faculty salaries in general.

Ian Macdonald, president of the faculty association, also feels strongly on the issue. "It is the position of the faculty association," he said after the meeting, "as I mentioned in a memo to faculty members in early May, that merit pay is not a matter of negotiation and, in fact, merit pay should have been awarded effective May 1. In fairness to junior faculty members particularly, I hope the university will modify this budget before it goes to the board of governors."

Meanwhile, a day of celebration

UW's 72nd convocation begins today with a 2 p.m. ceremony honouring graduates from independent studies, environmental studies and applied health sciences. Everyone is welcome at the ceremony, to be held as always in the main gym of the Physical Activities Complex.

Two people are receiving honorary degrees today: David Crombie, former mayor of Toronto and federal cabinet minister, and Eric Hultman, a Swedish pioneer in tissue analysis techniques used in biomedical research. Among students receiving honours today are Anneke Feberwee of recreation and leisure studies, who will address convocation as the valedictorian; Stephen Tsekrekos, collecting the gold medal as top graduate in applied health sciences; and Helen Godschalk, receiving the gold medal as top graduate from environmental studies.

A special note: Hultman, who's receiving one of those honorary degrees today, will give a seminar on his work tomorrow afternoon. "He is an eminent physiologist," explains Jay Thomson of the UW kinesiology department, "whose research led to the carbo-loading diet of endurance athletes and the current use of creatine supplements in power athletes." Title of his seminar: "Human Energy Metabolism Studies -- 35 Years of Defining and Answering Questions". Hultman will speak at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in Davis Centre room 1302. "It will be a lively review of the doing of science," Thomson promises. All are welcome.

Girls experience science

Today is the opening day of "Experience Science '96," a three-day camp for Grade 9 girls who are unsure of their ability or possible future in science. The camp, run by UW's faculty of science, strives to promote interest and confidence in science.

The girls are introduced to three days of lab activities in the areas of physics, chemistry, earth sciences, optometry and biology. Participants do a variety of science-oriented activities and will have the opportunity to listen to many guest speakers in various fields. Today's activities include a biology and optometry session, while the evening sees a panel discussion on women and science and an introduction to astronomy session.

Other notes and announcements

A Wednesday, but no Gazette

The Gazette is on an every-other-week schedule just now; the next issue will be published May 29. So the human resources department is circulating its Positions Available list to department offices. (It's also available on UWinfo under "Human Resources". Here are the titles of this week's jobs: Information: ext. 2524.

So, how hot is it?

Hot enough that this note was circulated earlier in the week in the computer graphics lab:
For a variety of reasons, the climate control system here in the Davis Centre can't keep the machine room at a safe humidity when it's hot outside like it was yesterday. Consequently, machines may go down without notice as humidity comes close to warranty-violating levels. (Like they did yesterday.) This is most likely to occur when it's hottest outside -- mid afternoon. For now, the environmental conditions in the lab are acceptable both for humans and machines.

Chris Redmond -- credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
(519) 888-4567 ext. 3004

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