University Watch

(Feb. 6, 1997, Gazette)

Winnipeg wants taxes re-assessed

WINNIPEG, MAN. -- The University of Winnipeg has won the right to have its $2.2 million municipal tax bill re-assessed. According to the University of Winnipeg's In Edition (Jan. 9, 1997), 1996 was the first year that Manitoba universities were responsible for paying their property taxes; previously the taxes were paid directly by the province. The University of Winnipeg is arguing that the market value of its buildings is considerably over-estimated. A Court of Queen's Bench ruling last November determined that the City of Winnipeg could not deny property owners an annual appeal of their assessments.

Signing up for the real thing

WINNIPEG, MAN. -- Over at the University of Manitoba (U of M), people are talking about cold beverages. The university and the U of M Students' Union have entered into a 10-year agreement with Pepsi-Cola Canada Beverages. Since Jan. 1, Pepsi has been the university's exclusive supplier of cold beverages. According to the U of M Bulletin, the university's agreement with Pepsi is based on the concept of "value added," in which a company provides a "rights" fee in return for exclusivity. Such fees are in addition to traditional payments such as commissions and promotional support. For competitive reasons the details of the financial agreement cannot be released; the financial returns for the university are described as "significant," however. Exclusive contracts are not new to the U of M and are found in several areas including banking, travel and food services.

Cuts proposed at Saskatchewan

SASKATOON, SASK. -- University of Saskatchewan president George Ivany is calling for a package of tuition increases, staff and faculty cutbacks and program changes to meet the provincial government's six per cent grant reductions over the next two years. The February 1997 issue of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada's University Affairs ran an excerpt of a report in which Dr. Ivany was quoted as saying "Having cut $13.6 million from our budget in the last four years, there is no room to absorb the grant reductions [of three per cent a year] for the next two years." Dr. Ivany is recommending a target increase of $7.5 million in tuition revenue, made up of an unspecified, across-the-board fee hike as well as new differential fees for high-cost programs. Under Dr. Ivany's scenario, between 70 and 100 jobs would be eliminated, including about 35 faculty positions, for a total savings of $3.3 million-5.4 million.

Collective agreement approved

KINGSTON, ONT. -- The Board of Trustees at Queen's University recently approved the university's first collective agreement with its faculty. According to Queen's Today (Jan. 27, 1997) -- the World Wide Web companion to the Queen's newspaper, Gazette -- board trustees voted overwhelmingly in favor of the three-year contract on Jan. 17 at a special meeting held in Toronto. The agreement, reached in principle on Dec. 6, was ratified by the faculty association on Dec. 16.