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Daily Bulletin

University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Friday, April 17, 1998

  • Closer to a balanced budget
  • Local volunteers are wanted
  • Province has summer job plans
  • A note on staff positions
  • Yesterday, today and forever
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Closer to a balanced budget

The deficit in UW's budget for 1998-99, which was once close to $8 million, has been whittled down to $859,000 in a draft that will be considered by the senate finance committee on Tuesday.

"A budget cut or levy of 0.7% would be needed" to balance the budget, a note from provost Jim Kalbfleisch says.

[Pie chart]
But there are still other possibilities. The newest draft of the budget is still assuming that September's first-year class will be no bigger than the target enrolment. But the targets were exceeded by accident last year, and could be exceeded deliberately this year if the faculties decide they have room for more students. That could put another million dollars in tuition fees into the budget, Kalbfleisch said at the committee's previous meeting.

Since that time, the expected deficit has been reduced through tuition fee increases and through a temporary reduction in pension plan premiums, which is expected to save the university $1.9 million in the coming year. (Individual staff and faculty members will save another $1.6 million on pension premiums.)

The budget is also still showing plans to pay off UW's accumulated deficit of $6.2 million by the end of 1999-2000, meaning that $3.1 million in the coming year's budget is going for that purpose. A slower debt retirement would save money in the 1998-99 expenditures.

Total spending for the coming year, including salary increases that are due May 1, is shown in the budget as $183,861,000, while income is expected to be $183,002,000. Some 57 per cent of the income will come from Ontario government grants, 32 per cent from tuition fees, and the rest from other sources.

Local volunteers are wanted

Here's another list of needs and invitations from the local Volunteer Action Centre, as we move into National Volunteer Week: More information: call the VAC at 742-8610.

Province has summer job plans

The Ontario ministry of education announced yesterday that the provincial government "will help more than 48,000 young people find work this summer".

"39,600 jobs for young people were created in Ontario since last year -- 75 per cent of the net youth jobs created in Canada," premier Mike Harris said. "Ontario Summer Jobs 1998 is part of the government's ongoing commitment to help young people find a job, or learn skills that will lead to a job or create their own business."

A news release says the target of 48,500 young people to find work this summer "is twice the number of young people who found work through student summer jobs programs in 1995. Since 1995, Ontario government summer services have served on average 37,479 young people a year at a cost of $55 million. . . .

"Summer jobs are an important part of a student's education, providing practical job experience as well as skills and knowledge that can help build a career. Employers benefit from the energy and enthusiasm of student employees."

The jobs effort is described as "a $50.8 million investment" combining programs from five ministries. It includes an incentive for businesses and community organizations to hire young people for up to 16 weeks, loans to encourage self-employment, and jobs in government ministries and agencies. Information is offered at a special jobs web site, youthjobs.gov.on.ca.

A note on staff positions

The facts have been run down, and yes, there was a mistake in the figures -- which I summarized earlier this week -- about the number of staff positions at UW. (It remains true that there was growth of some 20 positions from 1996 to 1997, after the big drop from the 1995 levels caused by the special early retirement program.)

The chemistry department doesn't really have 25 staff, says Suzanne Morgan in the budgets office after checking all the data. The correct number is 16.5 chemistry staff paid from UW's main budget. The other eight and a half people should be credited to other departments, or are "soft money" staff not on the permanent complement.

Terry McMahon, chair of the chemistry department, is relieved to have the phantoms identified. Which doesn't mean he's happy with the level of staffing in his department. "I should point out," he told me yesterday, "that compared to other chemistry departments in Canada, we are dramatically understaffed. To have the same staff-faculty ratio as most other research-intensive chemistry departments, we would have to double our staff complement. The considerable success of this department is based on the fact that everyone, faculty and staff alike, works much harder than our 'competitors' in other universities."

One other anomaly turned up in the staffing data, by the way. The audio-visual centre didn't really hire two new people; it took over responsibility for two existing jobs, in the media library, that had been counted as part of the UW library staff in 1996.

Yesterday, today and forever

Church fire: CBC Newsworld photo
A murder at the University of Toronto, apparently linked with arson at three downtown Toronto churches, is front-page news across the country today. Dead is Robert Ivens, a staff member in the department of anatomy and cell biology. Grotesquely, his body was found yesterday morning in the morgue in the basement of the Medical Sciences Building. Police are looking for Steve Toussaint, of the same department, in connection with the killing and the arson.

Chemists from across the country are at UW today for a one-day conference on "Electrode Processes and Bioelectrochemical Applications", the spring symposium of the Electrochemical Society, Canadian section. Meeting in Davis Centre room 1302, they'll be hearing from both industrial and academic speakers, including Susan Mikkelsen, Peter Ertl and K. Christensen of UW. Don Irish of the chemistry department is the organizer.

Two off-campus events of some importance are happening today and tomorrow. The annual used book sale of the Canadian Federation of University Women runs from noon to 9 today, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow, at First United Church in downtown Waterloo. And Access '98, an exhibition of "products and services for independence" (coping with disabilities), runs today from 10 to 9 and Saturday from 10 to 5 at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

Art by two students goes on display today in East Campus Hall. Both exhibitions represent Master of Fine Arts thesis work: wood and stone sculpture by Christopher A. Stones (in the Artspace Gallery) and acrylics by Sonesay Bouphasiry (in the Front Gallery). An opening reception runs from 7 to 9 this evening, and the shows continue on display through May 1.

Coming to the Humanities Theatre this weekend: the regular Kiwanis Travelogue at 8 tonight (this time Rick Ray speaking on Vietnam and Burma); the Queen Helena Croatian Festival on Saturday at 2 p.m.; the Polish Ensemble with dance and music on Sunday at 3 p.m.

A couple of power shutdowns are scheduled, the plant operations department says: Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon in the B. F. Goodrich Building, Monday from 7 to 10:30 a.m. in the Columbia Icefield. "Computer equipment should be shut down in an orderly fashion, particularly Unix systems," a memo advises. More information on utility shutdowns: Jim Goodwin, ext. 2836.

Saturday night brings the annual end-of-term party at Wilfrid Laurier University -- an event organized to reduce the likelihood of chaos in the streets, as happened when WLU exams ended in some previous Aprils. Saturday night's event is happening at both WLU pubs and outdoors in the quadrangle, where The Philosopher Kings and The Wild Strawberries will play. "Once again," says a notice from the WLU students' union, "this event is for Laurier students only and a valid student card will be required. Last year's celebration drew 2240 students, with nearly half of all undergraduate students in attendance. Organizers expect the 1998 attendance to top 2300."

Sunday morning, the Super Cities Walk to combat multiple sclerosis gets going in many Canadian cities, including Kitchener-Waterloo. The K-W walk will start from Federation Hall at 10 a.m. (check-in begins at 8:30) and offers 10-kilometre and 15-kilometre walking routes, as well as a 5-kilometre wheelchair route, all ending up back at Fed Hall. Participants are expected to raise pledges for the cause, and then "enjoy the community pride with a day full of food, fresh air and entertainment!"


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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