Open the Doors - FPSE Campaign

Some of our public education is about to get a lot less public. Find out why.

Dear TRUFA Colleague - We’ve all seen how chronic underfunding has affected our faculty, our students, and their families. Since 2001, per-student operating grants have dropped 20 percent, and the burden has been passed to students and their families in the form of increased user fees, record levels of debt, and shrinking program opportunities. We’ve listened to our communities across the province, and funding post-secondary is a no-brainer. They’re telling us we can’t afford it - but we’ve seen the near-billion dollar surplus. I’m writing to ask you to join the campaign here. BC has the money to invest—but won’t. That’s why we have launched a campaign to restore fully funded post-secondary education in BC. We have powerful voices. Our province-wide polling shows that we, as educators, are the most trusted source on the subject of education—not the provincial government. Now is the time to raise those voices in our community and make this campaign impossible to ignore. It’s time to make our move.

At the 2015 Annual General Meeting of the Federation of Post Secondary Educators of BC (FPSE-BC), a non-partisan campaign highlighting the need for focus on post-secondary education leading up to the May 2017 provincial election was identified. One year later at the May 2016 AGM, delegates reconfirmed their support for this campaign.

Three main principles inform the “Open the Doors” campaign:

  1. Access—is post-secondary education accessible for students, particularly those who live in more remote communities in our region?
  2. Affordability—can students and their families afford university education, and can post-graduation student debt levels be moderated?
  3. Appropriate Funding—is TRU funded at a level that will enable our University’s teaching, research and regional educational delivery mandate under the TRU Act?

Since early in 2016, TRUFA has engaged in a concerted outreach to the TRU community—especially to students—and highlighted these goals. Our “cupcake strategy” has resulted in approximately 2,000 TRU students, faculty, staff and administrators signing pledges that call on the provincial government to restore funding to the university and college system. To find out more about the campaign and to sign a pledge visit Open the Doors.

In 2017, TRUFA, along with faculty associations across the province, has redoubled its efforts to increase awareness in our community about the funding crisis in British Columbia post-secondary education. On January 31st, TRUFA held its first of three sessions – the “Funding Squeeze” – alerting students to the issue of affordability. Some 150 students filled in surveys, asking them what financial pressures they face in pursuing a post-secondary education, what their concerns about debt may be, and what topics they would like political candidates and their parties to address during the provincial election campaign.

Over the next two months, TRUFA will engage the TRU community again, first, focusing on the impact of reduced government funding for TRU—increase in class sizes and limitations on course/program offerings; next, why investment in post-secondary education is crucial in building a strong economy, reducing income inequality, and fostering a healthy, contributing population.

Join us for our public Days of action events on March 21st and April 3rd in Old Main.

Help us make affordable post-secondary education an important election issue!