Since being elected, the current government of Quebec has imposed multiple cuts totalling nearly 205 million dollars from Quebec university budgets. These measures, which are further supported by the latest provincial budget, should lead to important repercussions on the quality of teaching, course offerings, research, and student services.
To this day, McGill University, which faces cuts of over 20 million dollars, has already announced its intent to freeze hiring for administrative and support staff, to reduce the purchasing of “non-essential” equipment, and to suspend the allocation of “non-urgent” funds.
Since the end of 2014, the SSMU has adopted a number of motions (1) seeking to oppose the persistent austerity measures put in place by the provincial government since the last elections. In conjunction with the Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS), the SSMU has also adopted a historic joint motion concerning provincial austerity measures and the budget cuts suggested by McGill University (2).
As part of the social justice movement that has grown continuously in Quebec over the last few years, the SSMU has taken the necessary measures to reiterate its complete opposition to the existing austerity measures and its support for the efforts being led by other student associations in Quebec. Consequently, the SSMU has put in place a mobilisation committee and is keeping its members informed of planned steps.
More directly concerning McGill University, the SSMU has highlighted the importance that it attributes to the protection of the most essentiel elements of a vibrant and productive student life, including research and funding opportunities, diverse course offerings, internships and learning through practice, faculty funding, access to libraries and journals, mental health and counselling services, mentorship from professors, and student financial aid.
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(1) Motion Regarding Solidarity Against Austerity (October 22nd 2014)
Motion Regarding SSMU’s Opposition to Deregulation and Increase in tuition (February 12th 2015)
Motion Regarding Anti-Austerity Information Dissemination and Mobilization (March 26th 2015)
(2) Motion Regarding Provincial Austerity Measures and McGill University's Proposed Budget Cuts
Association syndicale étudiante du Québec (ASSÉ) - Qu'est-ce que l'austérité?