TRU’s Christmas bill raises eyebrows
The Canadian Taxpayers' Federation (CTF) isn’t happy with the partying at Thompson Rivers University — at least the $40,000-plus it spent on Christmas functions last year.
Jordan Bateman of the CTF said the university “is claiming a funding shortfall and that it can’t fund what it should be doing, and it seems there is a disconnect between that and spending $40,000 on parties.”
The spending information was released as a result of a freedom-of-information request filed with the university by Radio NL.
“When you’re facing, what is it, a $6-million shortfall? You have to dig your way out of it one little step at a time,” Bateman said.
“And this is one of those little steps it should be taking.”
The university has been working to reduce its budget by two per cent to 2015, looking at options including not replacing staff who leave. It has already increased parking fees for staff and students to boost revenues.
In dismissing the criticism, Christopher Seguin, TRU’s vice-president of advancement, said the money was used to host “23 seasonal gatherings with 1,800 participants.”
Most included a dinner, Seguin said, adding the actual cost worked out to be $21 per person — “or less than .002 per cent of our budget.
“We have one season of celebration when we bring the people together,” he said, noting spending “$21 per person per person per year to acknowledge them” doesn’t seem excessive.
The money spent remained for the most part on campus as well, Seguin said, since most of the parties were catered by the university’s culinary-arts department.