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So the strike is over, but that’s just a temporary fix:

The Council of Ontario Universities is predicting the economic downturn will hit its schools, helping rip a $511-million operating hole in this year’s budgets.

Council president Paul Genest warns the unprecedented shortfall could be enough to cause some universities to close.

“We’ve been hit by a perfect storm,” Genest told the

There’s a combination of factors feeding the storm — the flatlining of provincial operating revenues and the stock market meltdown that has dropped endowment revenues by $180 million and created sky-high solvency payments for schools’ pension funds.

“Revenues are flat-lining, that’s sort of a basic issue that’s going to put people closer to dealing with deficits but because of the market meltdown, our endowments have lost a tremendous amount of anticipated revenue,” Genest said. “It’s in the order of $180 million.”

“And the next thing is the pension burden. The meltdown puts obligations on the managers of the fund to make solvency payments and that has to come out of operating.”

To weather the storm as best they can, universities are facing cuts.

“Every university … is looking at 4% to 5% cuts per year for the next three years,” Genest said. “You’re looking at close to 12% to 15% cuts by the end of the third year.”

“This is unprecedented, this is a meltdown of assets that no one has seen since the Great Depression.”

We can thank the unions for their pension burdens.

And if you don’t believe this guy, then maybe you’ll believe the President of York himself:

“Do I believe the labour relations issues on the York campus are only related to York? My answer is no,” Dr. Shoukri said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

“The issues that led to the strike are system-wide issues,” he said. “We need to look at them and deal with them and we need to be realistic in light of the needs of our students, in light of the financial reality, and in light of people’s right to have secure jobs and have clarity as to what is going on.”

Thank God I’m graduating this year.

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