College nets $33 million surplus after faculty strike

by | Oct 3, 2018 | Biz/Tech

Pirasanth Gunasekaram
Biz/Tech Reporter

Humber has $33 million in its bank account, savings from not paying staff during last year’s five-week faculty strike.

The college projected a surplus of $9.5 million but the five-week faculty strike last term helped inflate that to almost three times the amount, according to the 2017-2018 Annual Report. According to the annual report, there’s $33 million left on Humber’s budget from the previous school year.

“The surplus gets ridiculous and for some reason it gets bigger and bigger every year,” said Rena Borvilos, an Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Chief steward. “The only reason why the surplus was $33 million last year because the staff didn’t get paid for five weeks during the strike.”

Rani Dhaliwal, Humber’s Chief Financial Officer, said the strike was one of the reasons why there’s $33 million left in the budget. Professors were given strike pay, funded by membership dues to OPSEU.

“There were a lot of specific projects that we couldn’t spend on that we have planned so there were a lot of expense savings,” Dhaliwal said, adding Humber is planning to use the $33 million for future projects.

Another reason why there was a high surplus was because Humber was expecting a certain number of students coming in the new school year, but they got more students than originally projected, she said.

“The biggest difference between what we planned and what we ended up with is as a result of the change in the enrollment,” Dhaliwal said.

Matthew Moonessar, a first-year accounting student, said professors should get a raise using the surplus.

“Professors getting paid more would be great for them as well as for students because in my opinion the more professors get paid, the teaching will be better for the students,” Moonessar said.

Jason Naipaul, a first-year Multimedia Design and Development student, wants Humber to use the surplus to build new computer labs.

“Every time I go to the labs at Humber the computers are always taken. New computer labs will fix that problem,” Naipaul said.