July 15, 2024

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UWindsor Cuts University Players And The Entrepreneurship Practice And Innovation Centre | windsoriteDOTca News

University Players, the production unit within the School of Dramatic Art, will cease operations as part of campus budget cuts at the University of Windsor.

Other cuts will see the Entrepreneurship, Practice, and Innovation Centre re-imagined to “integrate and enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

“The University of Windsor, like many post-secondary institutions in Ontario, is grappling with significant external pressures on budgets from ongoing domestic tuition freezes, provincial policy and funding impacts, competitive forces, and fluctuating enrolment,” a news release said.

“To maintain a balanced budget, the University’s operating budget requires faculties and departments to work together to achieve budget savings in excess of $5.6 million. With escalating operating costs and several years of budget realignments, the University will continue to identify revenue opportunities, along with operational efficiencies and staffing adjustments to ensure that the University continues to fulfil its academic mission and safeguards the institution’s financial sustainability.”

The ten bargaining unit employees affected by these decisions were notified today and some are represented by CUPE Local 1393.

“At a time when the University’s strategic plan emphasizes its role as an engine of economic diversification, urban vitality, and civic engagement in the Windsor-Essex region, these cuts appear short-sighted and self-defeating,” said CUPE 1393 president Paul Fraser.

The union points out that University Players is a mainstay of the local theatre scene. Its productions draw audiences to the campus while providing professional-level training to drama students. Its graduates, current students, and support staff populate every other theatre troupe in the region.

“Just as Windsor is working to develop its cultural industries, the elimination of University Players threatens to undermine the arts community,” Fraser said.

Similarly, he points to the EPICentre’s various business incubator programs as important to entrepreneurs and founders establishing start-ups in Windsor-Essex.

“If there’s one thing we know Windsor needs, it is support for new businesses as they launch,” said Fraser. “Bringing the expertise of our faculty and students to bear has been of great benefit to our local economic ecosystem, and it will be a shame if we cut these ties at such a crucial time in our regional development.”