U of R should be more open on finances, advisory body says

Members of an advisory body for the University of Regina called on officials to be more open about finances at a meeting where news microphones and television cameras were ordered turned off.

The session, which was open to the media but not recording devices, involved dozens of university administrators, teachers and a small number of students who — together — make up what is called the University of Regina Council.

During the meeting many speakers said they believe too much money is being spent on administration at the U of R and not enough on teaching.

One speaker called the administration "bloated" while others lamented cuts that were being imposed on teaching positions and programs.

The council passed a number of resolutions which are recommendations for the university.

Among them, the council suggested the university impose a freeze on administration hiring and salary increases.

The council also supported resolutions calling for more disclosure from administrators including the production of an annual budget book that reveals salaries paid by the university.

The president of the university, Vianne Timmons, defended the size of her administration and blamed part of the money problem on provincial government funding that has not kept pace with rising costs.

After the meeting, when news media were allowed to record, Timmons said she has been very cautious with hiring.

"Any administration positions that become open we look at very, very carefully," she said. "We've been doing that for the last three years. And we've been looking at, as much as we can, to put our resources into front-line teaching."

While news media could observe the proceedings of the Wednesday meeting, they were not allowed to record it.

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