As Kwantlen Polytechnic University faces a $12-million “gap” in its budget, the fate of its Cloverdale-based farrier program is up in the air.
The institution is “looking at cancelling the September intake into the farrier program,” according to a statement from Dr. Sal Ferreras, a KPU vice-president, “to give us time to review the ongoing viability of the program without disrupting the academic progress of students already in it.”
The farrier program has been at KPU since the college was formed in 1981. Over the decades, it evolved into a nine-month program taken in three-month semesters and trains students to trim and shoe horses’ hooves.
According to Ferras, there were only four entry-level students in the January intake.
Another budget measure involves the Langley-based music program, which was thrown into turmoil in February when the university announced admissions had been cancelled for the fall 2019, spring 2020, and summer 2020 intakes.
A student-led campaign against the cuts filled Douglas Park in Langley City with music on March 24. Speakers took the stage to promote the program and decry budget-cutting that led the university to cancel first-year music admissions.
About 200 attended the rally, including Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek and her husband Rob, who are both Kwantlen graduates, but did not attend the music program.
“We’re here to support it, because music is a huge part of our community and it needs to continue,” the mayor said.“We need to have opportunities for young kids coming up from high school to attend a local university for a music program.”
Rob van den Broek, who plays in a band with some Kwantlen students, called the program “invaluable to the community.”
Langley City Councillor Rosemary Wallace said she was there because she believes in the arts.
“I just feel like the arts are the first to get cut,” Wallace said.
KPU president and vice-chancellor Dr. Alan Davis told Black Press Media the university has planned a $226-million balanced budget for 2019-20 that will be about $23 million larger than the year before.
“KPU’s budget for 2019-20 is projected to be larger … but with the university’s expenditures increasing faster than its revenue, there was a forecast gap of about $12 million, which we needed to close [in order] to deliver a balanced budget as required by legislation,” Davis explained.
There has been a search for savings across the university, Davis elaborated, including a “net reduction” in administration positions and a 2.2 per cent cut in the number of classes KPU offers. Davis said the measures won’t affect the number of students attending classes.
“Through careful enrolment management, KPU intends to maintain existing student enrolment, using our resources to maximize the number of students we can serve and reduce waitlists for high-demand programs,” he noted.
The university has three campuses in Surrey: the Tech campus along Highway 10 in Cloverdale, another along 72nd Avenue in Newton and one that recently opened inside Civic Hotel in City Centre.
-With files from Dan Ferguson