This article was sent to us before interim president Gordon Barnhart addressed the University on September 9. Nevertheless, it raises serious questions that continue to be relevant.
First, it reveals some very disturbing issues with the development of what is supposed to be a prestigious element of the University. Moreover, it leads to some critical questions, such as what is the role of Big Science in the “research intensive” University? How much funding should and does go to such projects, and how transparent are these transactions? Why is there no funding allotted to other researchers, especially those with equally if not more sterling research records? Are the research activities relegated to some sort of “little science” of minor import to the future of the University? Why are already established facilities—ones that took millions of dollars to create—now abandoned in terms of continued institutional support? In what ways do the mega-projects deprive other teaching departments of resources? Are teaching and learning not an integral part of the University’s mission?
Information on the USFA’s website http://www.itsaboutchoice.ca/2014-transformus/ demonstrates just how complex the budgeting process at the U of S is!
So many questions remained about TransformUS and the extent to which elements of this discredited process would have been applied. How would have departments in the humanities been affected, for example? And how democratic would have the consultation process been, which had been promised with faculty? All of these questions are worth asking of ourselves, our colleagues, and of those in managerial positions—especially because TransformUS may surely raise its head once again.