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Faculty at SMU strongly vote in support of no confidence

By Caitlin Snow Apr 9, 2024 | 2:19 PM

Members of the Saint Mary’s University Faculty Union have made their voices heard.

In a news release, Tuesday, the union says an overwhelming 91.1 per cent of members made a no confidence vote against the President of Saint Mary’s University (SMU) and Chair of the Board of Governors.

According to the union, the university is not being open about management of finances.

They say this has resulted in debt, budget cuts, cutting the student employment program and reductions in scholarships.

“SMUFU, has made multiple requests to the administration for basic information about the financial condition of the university, but they have refused to be accountable and transparent
about the true financial picture at Saint Mary’s,” said SMUFU President Cathy Conrad.

They add that they have ‘exhausted’ internal channels including working through the Senate and Board of Governors.

According to the union, external financial experts have concluded the university’s deficit is the result of:
• mismanagement of enrollment projections,
• increased spending on administrative salaries, and
• increased spending on external relations and capital projects.

The union says SMU’s financial troubles were ten years in the making, coinciding with the tenure of the current president.

“This vote is a very big deal for our membership, and highlights that faculty, students, and the community need immediate action and new leadership.”

SMU facing challenges 

Meanwhile, in a statement to our newsroom the university says they are facing similar challenges to post-secondary institutions all across the country.

This includes international student enrollment, decreasing government funding and high inflation.

“The Board and the university administration are aligned on the need for timely, innovative and sustainable long-term solutions to allow our great university to continue to contribute to Nova Scotia.”

SMU says they are willing to work collectively at the table with constructive ideas.

The union will host a solidarity rally Thursday 1-2 p.m. on the corner of Inglis St. and Tower Rd.