Andrew Boden: APSA Executive Director

Budget Cuts and Your Stories

February 7, 2024

Recently, Marjorie (I changed her name to preserve her privacy) wanted to meet with me to discuss how SFU’s budget cuts are affecting her unit. Not well, as you might imagine. Marjorie has lost two essential temporary staff positions and learned that the director position above her won’t be filled. She is now expected to do many of her director’s duties but doesn't get paid accordingly. She’s also expected to do the work that her temporary staff did, all during a thirty-six-hour workweek, since any compensated overtime hasn't been authorized by her senior leadership. 

Marjorie didn’t want to mention the new workload issues to her leadership because she feared that she might have her position eliminated. “I thought if I said that I couldn’t do it all, my senior director would start looking to cut my position. I don’t want to be next. My mortgage just got renewed.”

While I’ve heard similar stories from some of you in the last few months, I started to wonder how widespread stories like Marjorie’s are. I started wondering how other members like you may be experiencing the negative effects of SFU’s cost-cutting. In my long career at the University, I’ve often thought that those in senior administration don’t see what cost-cutting looks like at the ground level, how members like you are being affected, whether you’re a manager or director in charge of a shrinking budget or a professional trying to manage a growing workload.

We want your stories.

We’d like to hear how SFU’s budget cuts may be affecting you. We want to be able to give feedback to the University administration on how members like you are experiencing the current cost-cutting. When we do give feedback to the administration, we’d like to provide real-world examples. In other words, to humanize the impacts of the hiring freeze and all the cost-cutting.

We’ve set up a link that will allow you to provide your stories to us anonymously. Of course, if you’d like to let us know who you are, that’s fine too. Please note that and leave us your contact information if you want us to get back to you. A little later next month, we'll also be sending out a member survey, in which you can also express your opinions on how working in the current climate affects you.

Prompts to help you with your stories:

  • Are you now expected to do the jobs of more than one person?
  • Are you a manager expected to lead units that have been re-assigned to you, as a result of restructuring?
  • Are you working overtime and not being compensated for it?
  • How do you see the students you may serve being affected by service reductions? Are other clients you may serve being negatively affected?
  • How are you feeling? Are you fearing that you might lose your job? Have one or more of your teammates lost their jobs? 
  • How do you feel that some faculty members are calling for APSA members to lose their jobs? Do you work with any faculty members who’ve said something similar to you or your team?
  • Do you feel that SFU, broadly speaking, is supporting you, your team and your department?
  • Could SFU be doing more to support you and your team? What might that look like?
  • Are you okay?

We're here to help you through these rough times. If you'd like to meet with us, doing so is always completely confidential.

Take care.