KPU music students at rally against funding cuts to the Langley-based program. File photo

Kwantlen music students looking elsewhere because of budget tightening, student leader says

Transfer to other schools being sought in response to freeze on new admissions to music program

Current Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) music students have begun applying to other music schools as a result of budget tightening that canceled all new admissions to the Langley-based program.

That’s according to the head of the Kwantlen Music Students Association, Emma Dotto, who said the applications to transfer out are a response to the KPU board of governors approval in March of a 2018-19 budget that froze admissions, despite an outcry from students and instructors.

“It feels very depressing,” Dotto said.

She expects the number of students will drop from the current 80 to around 50 or 60, the combined result of the freeze on new admissions, graduations and students transferring to other music schools.

As a third-year student who is close to graduating, Dotto said she intends to stay on because a transfer would involve adjusting to a different school late in her studies.

Students in their first and second years are more likely to make a change, she said.

When the admissions freeze was first announced, music students staged several protests with the support of their instructors, including a weekend outdoor concert in Langley City, in a bid to have university administrators change their mind before the budget vote.

“We did the best we could,” Dotto said.

“No one’s happy.”

READ MORE: Music students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University battle cuts

KPU President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Alan Davis said the budget represents the first year of a five-year plan to bring “long-term financial sustainability” to the university.

Davis said a careful review by KPU showed university revenues were going to “plateau” while expenses continued to rise.

“The approval of this balanced budget was critically important for KPU’s long-term success because it represents an integrated approach to ensuring the university is financially sustainable while continuing to serve its students and its communities,” Davis said.

In a email to KPU instructors, Diane Walsh, Kwantlen Faculty Association Executive Vice-President said a review of the budget by an “external data analyst” shows it “is built on cuts to faculty and programs, cuts being made without adequate consultation with faculty.”

Walsh said there has been a 38 per cent increase in administrative salaries over the last two fiscal years.

“Surely if there is a financial crisis, there should be a net cut in administrative salary, but there is not,” Walsh said.

“The only employee group at KPU seeing a reduction is faculty,” Walsh added.

“And over the coming years, faculty will be cut more.”

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