Atlantic School of Theology Faculty Association

An Open Letter to Mr. Jacques Frémont, President, University of Ottawa

Dear Mr. Frémont,

I write to you as a concerned citizen of the University of Ottawa community. I am distressed at the news of the proposed cuts of almost $2 million to the collections budget of the library.

While I understand that the University administration faces certain constraints, cutting the library budget sends the wrong message. With rising tuition fees, the expectation is that quality of education would increase. However, these cuts threaten to do the opposite and would result in irreversible damages to the student experience and access to research. Budgets are about priorities, and this message undermines University of Ottawa’s broader mission as an institution dedicated to education and research.

With industry trends heading towards increasing commercialization of research and academic publishing and price gouging on behalf of major publishers, it is time more than ever to invest in building up our libraries, not tearing them down. The proposed cuts affect research and education materials essential to the library. Proceeding with these cuts is telling the University of Ottawa community that the administration is prepared to cut corners to save a few dollars, at the expense of quality of education and access to education.

Over 4000 individuals from the University of Ottawa community have signed on a petition to call upon the Board of Governors to reverse the decision to proceed with these ill-advised cuts which are contrary to the university’s primary mandate. I believe the university can balance its budget without threatening the library, and that reversing the cuts should not be detrimental to faculty, students or support staff.

One of the core missions of the university is to preserve and promote knowledge. Knowledge is the only way to counter ignorance, and cannot be achieved without a strong, diverse and up-to-date library collection, nor without the expertise and support of necessary library staff.

For these reasons I am joining others who have done the same, and call upon the President and the Board of Governors to reverse the decision to cut the library budget.

Dr. Alyda Faber, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology & Ethics, as President of ASTFA, signing on behalf of ASTFA