Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 3, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
District The Lethbridge Herald SECOND SECTION April 3, 1074 13-20 programs fnaf malre us a great are dropped because of a shortage of funds, ft. G. Baldwin, U of A dean of arts s universities resent image of fat, waste By JIM GRANT Herald Staff Writer Third of Six Universities in this province resent government accusations that they have been wasteful with the tax dollars provided them. They claim the department of advanced education is restricting their budgets and at the same time suggesting they are "fat" without specifically identifying where the "fat" is. The government is punishing the universities with financial restrictions, not because it is certain universities are overspending, but because it believes it is politically wise to do so at this time, faculty representatives charge. One faculty spokesman firmly believes the government has no evidence of even one area of wastefulness in the universities. It has failed, he says, to identify wastefulness when asked by the universities to do so because its accusations are based on partisan political purposes rather than actual knowledge of wasteful spending. The department replies it is only asking the universities to be accountable and points out that it hasn't reduced the amount of money alloted universities, but instead has reduced the amount of increase it grants each year. In response, the universities say they are actually receiving less money each year because the increases granted by the department of advanced education do not take into account the inflationary costs of operating a university. To offset' the increased operational costs, the universities say they have had to cutback in staff and supplies and curtail expansion and new programming. Minister of Advanced Education Jim Foster says he restricted the annual increases granted universities because students and the public indicated a preference for other educational institutions that produce a product trained for a specific job. Due to the sudden change in student attitudes, the large annual increases in university enrolments came to a sudden halt in 1970. 'We warned them that funding increases would be cut. Some administrators be- lieved us, others didn't'- Education Minister Jim Foster. The universities were funded on actual student enrolments in the 1960s but when registrations dipped they wanted to receive long-range funding. Now that the universities have shown a slight increase in enrolments this year, Mr. Foster says, they want to receive additional funding for the extra number of students they have to handle. They're not being consistent, he says. Mr. Foster told The Herald he left the universities with funding based-on projected enrolments even though they didn't actually experience the anticipated increase in student numbers during the first years of the 1970s However, "We did warn them that funding increases would be cut back. Some university administrators believed us and others he says. Administrators at the universities of Alberta and Calgary admitted to The Herald they were caught in the years 1970 and 1971 with more staff and facilities than they needed because they had been in a position of having to stockpile staff and facilities in anticipation of large enrolment increases. When the enrolment increases of the 1960s failed to materialize in the 1970s, the universities were caught in an awkward position and the government began to point a finger at what could be called over- spending. But the universities were not to blame, according to one university administrator. Professors were difficult to obtain on short order so the universities were forced to stockpile staff in preparation for future needs. Buildings were also planned several years in advance of their actual need. Willard Allen, U of A academic vice president, says there still may be waste In the operation of the university as there is in all human organizations. But "I don't know of any way of saving that waste he adds. Dr. Allen claims the universities make more efficient use of buildings and apace than most governments and business firms. Classes operate from early In the morning until late in the afternoon and, In some buildings, until late at night. Other facilities, such as the library, are also open until late at night. Mr. Foster says nil department also restricted In university grants because U needed time "to shift gears" and have another look at the total cost of post secondary education in the province. He doesn't see how anyone can charge the provincial government with hindering the quality of university education in Alberta when more money per capita is spent on post secondary education in this province than in any other province in Canada. The universities receive about million of the million department of advanced education budget, Mr. Foster says. However, one university spokesman suggests about 50 per cent of the provincial expenditure on post-secondary education is funded by the federal government. Some university academics would prefer to receive the federal funding directly from the federal government to prevent any one source of funding from obtaining complete fiscal control of the universities. The universities' major concern is not with the department's decision to scrutinize the cost of post-secondary education but rather with the length of time it has remained in neutral before deciding on a lower or higher gear. They argue that it is increasingly difficult to provide standard educational opportunities to students when faced with inflationary costs that are increasing sharply each month, without receiving additional funding to offset the increases. Inflation is having a particularly noticeable impact in the supplies portion of the university budget. A university administrator says prices of supplies increased on an average between 20 and 30 per cent last year and are increasing at a similar rate this year. All three universities have made substantial cuts in library budgets. Combine the budget cuts with increases in the cpst of books and materials and it is evident the libraries will have difficulty keeping up with current titles, he says. The financial restrictions have been particularly detrimental to University of Lethbridge library because it is a developing library that hasn't reached maturity. U of L has estimated that it needs an additional just "to hold the line" in its library and another "to improve in books and audio-visual components." The universities have also had to reduce staff They fear the low salary increases they are forced to hold the faculty and staff to have left them in a position where they could lose some of their better people Universities can't compete with the government and other institutions-for staff if they don't have the finances, the academic vice president of U of A says. Dr. Allen says U of A may lose staff in the faculty of medicine because "We can't compete in salaries." All three universities have had to reduce staff but none have faced more reductions than U of A faculty of arts. The faculty faced budget cuts of in 1971-72, in 1972-73'and this year. It has reduced its staff by 40 teaching positions in the last two years to allow for a balanced budget. The 40 teaching positions represent a staff reduction much greater than 4C people since most of the positions eliminated were held by graduate student teaching aides (GTAs) and it takes three GTAs to fill one teaching position. The level of academic ma- turity and level of experience In the University of Alberta Is on a rapid decline. ft. G. Baldwin Mr. Foster doesn't believe the reduction in staff at the universities, will have a detrimental effect on the education of students It may even have improved the standard of education because the reduction in GTAs has forced the professors back into the classroom and out of a position of simply supervising the GTAs who were doing the teaching, Mr. Foster suggests. E. M. Webking, president of the Alberta Federation of Faculty Associations, is firmly opposed to the reduction of GTA staff. The removal of GTAs forces the professor to do less research and more teaching and "How can you continue to teach a subject if you can't research that asks Dr. Webking. also co- ordinator cf the co operative studies project at U of L. The two larger universities in the province claim they were put in a very difficult position when the anticipated enrolments weren't realized three years ago. Reductions in staff were necessary but they weren't in a position to reduce staff in some of the areas where student enrolments were less than expected because they couldn't break legal employee contracts. So the reductions were made by not replacing people who left the university for employment elsewhere. As a result one department was left with too much staff while another department remained short. When the student load in one department forces universities to hire more staff members, they are hiring junior professors to save money. The result, R. G. Baldwin, U of A dean of arts says, is that "the level of acadmic maturity and the level of experience in the university, of whole, is on a rapid decline." In addition, Dr. Baldwin stresses, many special option programs that "helped make us a great university" are being dropped because of a shortage of funds. The onus should be put on Southern Alberts students and parents to support their own university. Foster The universities to the North may be having problems scrambling about to operate on what they believe to be insufficient funds, but they both appear to be in better financial condition than U of L. U of C and U of A have established enormous v budget surplus funds so are somewhat able to cushion what they consider to be financial restrictions from the provincial government. U of C was reported to have about million in reserves at the end of 1973. The total annual operating budget at U of L is only about million. Mr. Foster says he realizes U of L doesn't have the financial reserves or the "breadth or depth" of the other two universities but he doesn't believe the funding provided U of L is crippling it. "The U of L has done a good job in being financially responsible this year and I am in sympathy with some of the requests it has made for additional funding but I dou't agree with the timing of the Mr. Foster told The Herald. He doesn't believe the university needs the total package it wants now. The requests may be granted over a longer period of time, he adds. He is also not sure that new programming' and facilities will attract students to U of L. He points out that the government "added all kinds of buildings and facilities" to the colleges in Vermillion and Fairview in an attempt to attract students and were unsuccessful. "I don't know if I am willing to gamble that the same situation wouldn't occur at U of Mr. Foster says. The province is already spending about a student annually just for the operational costs of the university, he says. He realizes U of L is inique and different from the two major universities and must receive a greater per student funding rate than a larger university. But he wonders at what level university per student costs should be maintained. "We have discriminated in favor of U of L and we'll continue to discriminate in favor of U of but the government must also be responsible to the taxpayers of the province so at some point the expenditures must be controlled. Mr. Foster also says it is difficult to put a dollar value on the service U of L is providing to Southern Alberta. If not through programming and facilities, how can students be attracted to U of L? First, Mr. Foster says the onus should be put on Southern Alberta students and parents to support their own university. Students are still leaving the South to study at U of A and U of C when they could takt the same program at U of L, he says. Secondly, some type of financial incentive program may be needed to encourage students to attend U of L. Perhaps an expansion of the bursury program introduced last fall which provides financial incentive to students who live outside the area to induce them to attend U of L. The department may even consider increasing the tuition at U of A and U of C for students from Southern Alberta who could take the same program at U of L. U of L president Bill Beckel doesn't agree that financial incentive programs are an effective method of attracting students to U of L. He believes the government would influence more students to come to U of L if it provided the university with the funding it needs to expand its programs and provide greater opportunities to the students. Charging Southern Alberta students a penalty if they attend the other Alberta universities "definitely will not Dr. Beckel believes. He doesn't see Southern Albertans accepting such discriminatory action. Health unit condemns house as unfit for occupation 2 houses condemned Clean-up Hardieville campaign under way By WARREN CARAGATA Herald Staff Writer Lethbridge County and the Barons-Eureka Health Unit have joined forces in an attempt to clean-up parts of Hardieville. The health unit has placarded two houses in the hamlet as "unsanitary and unfit for occupation" and has served notice on three other Hardieville residents to clean up accumulated garbage and litter. And last week, the county sent clean-up crews into Hardieville to pick up any garbage on public property and from property owners co- operating in the campaign. Ken Blom, senior public health inspector with the health unit, said Tuesday the unit's action "was basically a token move" designed to make the owners aware of the seriousness of the situation." If the owners of property affected by health unit orders fail to correct the conditions complained about, responsibility falls to the county to take what action is necessary under the Municipal Government Act, with all costs involved recoverable from the owners, Mr. Blom told The Herald. Only in rare cases would the health unit take legal action on its own, he said. The placarded dwellings are owned by Peter Grandberg, 1923 2nd Ave. S., in Lethbridge, and Michael Devemichuk, formerly of the city, whose affairs are now handled by a provincial government trustee. The health unit has received no reply from Mr. Grandberg, but a letter from the deputy public trustee regarding Mr. Devernichuk's property indicates the situation will be investigated and "dealt with as soon as the weather clears up." County crews are also working in other hamlets, but Mr. Bloom said nuisance conditions in Hardieville are probably worse than in other communities. Hardieville is still looked down on as a slum, he said, but most of the people there are trying to clean up the hamlet. "Things are on the up- he said, predicting that within a year, nuisance conditions in some parts of the hamlet will be corrected. But the county is going to have to start enforcing its development control bylaw to make stubborn residents with junky lots clean-up, Mr. Blom said. Garbage on some property is a potential health hazard because it can be a breeding ground for flies and other disease-carrying pests. And old junk, such as car bodies, can be hazardous to children playing, he added. County Coun. Steve Slemko, who represents the area, told The Herald that although many people co-operated in the clean-up campaign, some residents still refute to co- operate. There are still about six asked to look into the persons with unsightly possibility of bringing legal premises, he said, and the action under the county's solicitor has been nuisance bylaw LIBRARY HELP NEEDED TO MEET BOOK BOOM Booming circulation at the Lethbridge Public Library may force the hiring of another staff member, the library board was told Tuesday. City librarian George Dew said the new library building opened for business in a bit of confusion, but circulation since had been about books a day. Last Saturday, circulation was only 34 short of books were loaned. Public libraries generally do not have the staff recommended by the American Library Association and the Canadian Library Association. Byt he said cities with good libraries come close. By the ALA standard of one staff member for citizens, Lethbridge's library should have 22 full-time staff members. It has 17 full-time staff members, he said. Pincher battiest riding in Alberta Herald Legislature Bureau EDMONTON The constituency of Pincher Creek-Crowsnest was voted the battiest in the province at a legislature committee meeting Tuesday night. It appears the province has skunks and other rabies- carrying animals under control. But Agriculture Minister Hugh Homer told the committee the province must know more about bats which carry the disease. He said most of the bats descend on Alberta from mountainous areas in the Pmcher-Creek Crowsnest constituency. Opposition leader Bob Clark queried MLA Charlie Drain whether that meant his constituency was the province's battiest. Dr. Homer also told the committee he has had luck convincing Saskatchewan or the federal government that the border of rat-free Alberta can be extended eastward. He said the province has even offered to put up the money to push the border back. "They laugh at you and it's not a laughing he said. "They really don't believe it, not even in Saskatchewan. Dr. Homer conceded that he was once an unbeliever too but now believes the province is rat free and that millions of dollars have been saved by the control program. Ralph Sorenson (SC Sedgewick Coronation) suggested the province inaugurate a "rat-free appreciation day" to bring public attention to the benefits of a control program. Young teens by book restrictions How old is old enough when it comes to reading modern adult fiction? The Lethbridge Library Board considered the ques- tion Tuesday, and put off an attempted solution for further consideration. Board member Marilyn Anderson said many 13-year- old or It-year-old library users felt "insulted" that they couM not take out from the public library fictional works available in good junior high school libraries. She suggested towering the age for an adult library card to 13 from the current IS. City librarian George Dew said the current rule is persons 15 or older, or in Grade have adult library Younger persons have children's cards. Anyone may read any non- fiction, but children cannot take out adult fiction. Mr. Dew said letting children take out adult material was a concession, which did not extend to fiction because of the parent problem. There were some complaints even with the current policy, he said. In some places, a small for "Restricted appeared on book cards. The librarian said the notation enabled staff to forbid some books to 12-year-olds, and to persuade little old ladies not to read things that might offend them. Mr. Dew said he personally favored freedom to read, but "home censorship" did exist.