Library & Librarian Crisis at St. Paul University

Dear Colleagues,

This evening, Susan K. Roll, President of the Faculty Association of St. Paul University, regrettably informed me of the termination of the only currently working librarian employed by St. Paul University, which has a world reputation for its theological and rare books collections. There is one remaining librarian employed by St. Paul who is currently on maternity leave. 

 
This drastic move was made in the context of radical and sudden budget cuts at St. Paul which the union anticipates will bring terminations of professors. It suspects that the termination of the librarian was a test to see how the union would react to a member being fired. The librarian, Alice Constantinou, was also a member of the Faculty Association Executive.
 
The details are below. (Please note that I have edited out some of the original detail regarding discussions on whether St. Paul will continue as a catholic university.)

 

APPUSP             PASPU

L’Association des professeures et professeurs de l’Université Saint-Paul

The Professors Association of Saint Paul University

FACT SHEET    as of May 23, 2013            

On Tuesday March 26, 2013, the Saint Paul University Director of Human Resources, André Lacaille, orally informed the President of the Professors Association that the University needs to reduce its operating budget deficit by between $750,000 and one million dollars.  The way that this budget deficit would be filled would be to reduce the number of professors in Theology by as much as half, or ten professors, out of a total University corps of 60 professors.  Theology has a lower professor-to-student ratio than the other faculties, although the ratio in other faculties at Saint Paul is no higher than 1 to 11, while the provincial norm is 1 to 20.  Lacaille said that if not enough Theology professors could be found to retire early, leave voluntarily, transfer to administrative posts or lose their limited-term contracts, that the University would begin to fire tenured professors in Theology until it reached its goal of saving one million dollars.

On March 28 the President informed Lacaille that the union would defend its members.

On Wednesday April 10 the Profs Association President announced this to the members at the annual general assembly.  At that point two fulltime contract professors in faculties other than Theology had had their contracts terminated, and another prof had moved into administration.

On Wednesday May 15 Alice Constantinou, a professional librarian with a permanent appointment, and also a member of the Executive of the Profs Association, was terminated.  The stated reasons included the University’s budget deficit and the operating costs of the Library.  She was allowed to return to her office briefly to retrieve some belongings, then her key was taken from her.

At present there are no professional librarians working in the Saint Paul University Library.  There is no Chief Librarian.  The last librarian is slated to return from maternity leave in late June.

The following day, May 16, a letter from Hélène Carriere, Vice-Rector of Administration, to the University community, announced the approval by the Administrative Council of a balanced budget for which a reduction in expenses of two million dollars, not one million, was necessary.

As of May 22 the Faculty of Theology had had one professor commit to retirement, two made arrangements for retirement and return on part-time contracts, several more were working on possible transition arrangements, three staff members were terminated, and two and one-half professors transferred to a different faculty.  The administration believes that none of these significantly affects the target dollar amount.  

The Professors Association expects one or more tenured professors to be terminated in the very near future.

Susan K. Roll

President, PASPU / APPUSP

Susan requested that concerned librarians to send an Email, a letter or a phone call of protest to the Rector of Saint Paul, Mme Chantal Beauvais, at rectrice-rector@ustpaul.ca, (613) 236-1393 ext 2241.

Thanks,

Jennifer

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