Do your duty


The university cannot offload costs to its students; it needs to lobby the government harder

On September 25 and 26, a referendum will be held to instate a $0.25 levy onto your student fees, all of which will go directly to the theatre department in order to keep university productions free of admission to students, but also to ensure that the department is providing an education that is up to standard.

A strong theatre education program in Regina is a prerequisite for the growth of actual culture here in Regina and across the province. Without a strong theatre education program, the survival of the theatre community in Regina (be it the Globe, Combat Improv, Golden Apple Theatre, or what have you) becomes increasingly difficult to sustain, let alone grow, and subsequently underfunding of the Theatre department at our university is detrimental to the cultural community of Regina.

Notwithstanding, the University of Regina’s theatre education program – and correspondingly, Regina’s theatre community – cannot be reliant on the students at the university to fund it.

The ballot may suggest otherwise, but the referendum is asking more than a “yes” or “no” question; it’s asking whether students are the ones who’ll grab the cheque when the university can’t afford or refuses to pay it..  This is not a question of whether you care about the theatre department or its students. This referendum is a question of whether you’ll stand complacent with the continual financial degradation of this university.

Voting “no” does not mean you don’t care about the theatre department or its students. Voting “no” means you will not stand accountable to provide a bailout. The idea that students should be asked to foot the bill of an underfunded department is preposterous. If a department’s budget cannot provide an adequate education for its students it is the university, not the individual department, that is failing its students. The money needs to come from elsewhere.

So, if the University of Regina cannot afford to provide its students with a quality education, increasing the provincial government’s post-secondary education spending is imperative. The only way the theatre department can continue providing for its students – nay, exist at all – is if post-secondary education spending is increased.

 "If a department’s budget cannot provide an adequate education for its students it is the university, not the individual department, that is failing its students."

Yes, the theatre department could charge admission to its productions and be more self-sustaining, but the department has seen its budget reduced by $23,173 between 2005 and 2012. When a department’s budget is reduced by over a third, claiming the ability to maintain the same quality of education becomes difficult.

Moreover, I’m sure this is not the only department that’s seen its budget reduced over the past few years. Thus, if the outcome of the referendum is “yes”, what’s to say any of the other departments who’ve faced budget cuts (pardon me, Vice President (Administration) Dave Button, “small discretionary budget impacts”) from instating similar levies via referendums? A “yes” outcome of the referendum suggests students are completely fine with bearing the burden when the government fails to meet the needs of students and culture in this province.

The students here shouldn’t be pressuring their peers to help out an underfunded department – no matter how small the sum in question. The students and administration here need to be pressuring politicians to increase funding to the university not only to maintain a high standard of education, but to maintain and grow actual culture in our province. Students shouldn’t be paying the bills of the university.

Paul Bogdan
A&C Editor

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