Monday, May 7, 2012

Who Rolled Whom?

I have gotten some more information about the deal Quebec made with the leaders of the student groups, which suggest that maybe Quebec rolled the students rather than the other way around, contrary to my previous post.

The key is that the students will only have four spots on the nineteen person panel.  So, their influence will be mostly symbolic unless they can get other folks on their side.  Of course, the bad news is that the university folks only have six seats, so the panel is unlikely to be all that helpful to universities either.

It is also not clear how the increases in tuition are balanced by cuts in fees.  Given that some schools in Quebec have very little in the way of fees, it may be the case that the totals going to universities still increase over the next seven years.

Still, the idea that there is heaps of room to cut university budgets just because there has been some mismanagement is problematic.  The biggest university expense, as Lucien Bouchard pointed out, is personnel.  That would be profs, staff.  Quebec rates of wages are lower than rest of Canada's so not really much room to cut salaries, especially with unions on the panel.

Of course, this is all moot.  The students will have to agree to the deal, and if they use the same kinds of rules as before, open votes, with only limited turnout, I am guessing that the vote will be against the deal.  What happens if one or two groups vote for and one or two vote against?  Hmmm.

Anyhow, the devil is very much in the details, but the details may be overcome by events this week.


Unknown said...

Another thing to keep in mind is that ASSE, FEUQ, FECQ, TaCEQ are at their roots coalitions of university student unions/associations. The votes will take place not at the level of, say, the FEUQ. Instead, they will be university by university. So it is entirely possible that many groups will continue to stay on strike. On the whole, I suspect that you're probably right that a number of groups will reject the deal. I've also become quite suspicious of this panel as an RA at McGill and incoming Master's student. CLASSE coming out for cutting research budgets coupled with this panel makes me concerned, even though I tend more towards the attitude that there should be more state funding of universities rather than tuition increases, difficult as that may be in the current political environment.

Unknown said...

...and every association that has voted on the issue so far, save one that wasn't even on strike, has voted against the government's offer.