The school year is beginning to wrap up which means that the academic powers-that-be residing over the board of Thompson Rivers University gathered for the final Board of Governors meeting of the winter semester. The event was live-streamed on Vimeo and is available via transcript for students or faculty that would like to explore a wider range of the topics covered at the meeting.
The two decisions that are unequivocally the most relevant to students and faculty is the tuition hike and the statement on academic freedom.
“Domestic on-campus undergraduate enrolments continue to be a challenge for TRU. We have budgeted for a two per cent increase in tuition rates,” Paul Manhas, associate vice-president of finance wrote in the budget report. “Domestic open learning enrolments are projected to increase plus the budgeted two per cent price increase.”
The increase of domestic tuition is ultimately less than what international students will be experiencing.
“Fall and winter enrolments are expected to be down by 200 students each semester approximately reducing fee revenue by over $3 million. This is partially offset by the fee increase of three per cent starting in the fall semester,” the same report continues on regarding international students and their tuition prices.
One of the reasons cited for an increase in international tuition is due to the sharp decrease in summer semester revenue. Estimated to be around 22 per cent.
The other significant stipulation this board of governors meeting produced was the announcement that TRU will further pursue a statement on academic freedom at the school. Currently, no such statement exists.
“Academic freedom is of highest interest and impact to faculty and I trust through the committee that you will propose a statement that best reﬂects TRU,” Brett Fairbairn said in a release.
“While academic freedom is protected under collective agreements at TRU, as noted in the working committee’s terms of reference there is no universally-accepted understanding of its scope. A TRU-speciﬁc statement will help provide some clarity around the meaning and reach of academic freedom, in its application at TRU. The statement is intended as a guideline, and one that I hope will be inspirational and an opportunity to state our common values; it is not about procedures or regulations.”
The actuality of this release refers to a new committee that will research the need for an academic freedom statement and creating one that is most pertinent to TRU at this time.