Welcoming in 2024
As always, I’d like to welcome you to a new year and offer you my blessings for a peaceful 2024! After speaking with many members like you, 2023 seemed like a very difficult year in a number of areas: both on the world stage and also here at SFU, especially as bargaining negotiations unfolded for both APSA and other employee groups. So long 2023 and hello 2024...
I wanted now to write of better times ahead for everyone, as last year was stressful enough for many of you. Unfortunately, the University’s announcements throughout the fall about its finances may result in potential consequences here in 2024 and beyond. I write may, because after having worked on campus for over thirty years, through difficult budget years before, I’m never sure how things are going to unfold. Yes, the University has initiated a hiring freeze and noted shortfalls due to declines in international enrollments and increases to staff pensions, among other reasons. We are working behind the scenes to get further details of SFU’s financial issues, including asking the University for quarterly financials and stating that many of you are already overextended, and the hiring freeze is only likely to exacerbate your workloads.
Before Christmas, many of you have also asked my team about the impact of potential budget cuts on jobs at SFU. While I’ve heard rumblings about some restructuring (broadly speaking), the University has been guarded about saying much, if anything, on this topic. It’s difficult, then, for me to predict with any accuracy what might be the impacts on staff jobs at SFU. I can say this, however: my team and our board will (and do) work very hard to preserve APSA jobs at SFU. We don’t take someone losing their job lightly: we advocate, as we have, for our members to keep their jobs—this includes advocating directly to the senior administration, including to President Joy Johnson.
As Joy Johnson reaffirmed in her email to APSA members on December 15, 2023, the work you perform at SFU in support of its academic mission is absolutely vital to the meeting of that mission. You should be proud of the work that you do so tirelessly serving the SFU community—your roles are more than important and we will be doing our utmost to preserve all APSA roles. Doing so is a critical part of our advocacy role on your behalf.
Information is always critical to our helping you in any situation. If you have concerns about your position at SFU (or about anything else), please do reach out to me or my team. We’re here to advocate for you throughout 2024 and beyond. Take care.