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Fight over Canisius College staff and program cuts heating up

The fight over Canisius College staff cuts is apparently heating up, although no one wants to talk about it.

The college has been grappling with financial problems for several years, with all of that apparently because there are just fewer students around than there used to be. There have been cuts at the margins, some buildings closed and sold, senior faculty persuaded to retire, other cuts.

Now it is public, with a vocal protest on Thursday, just as the college was gearing up for the return of students on Aug. 31, and the Faculty Senate voting "no condidence" in President John Hurley and the Board of Trustees.

Students will be coming back to a college that is laying off 96 people, including 25 teacher, and eliminating some thinly populated majors. Those layoffs include tenured faculty, something higher education isn't supposed to do because tenure is supposed to be a protection against layoffs or firing.

It is being fueled by a blizzard of written statements, with no one on either side apparently willing to talk. On Sunday, WBFO tried to reach top administrators, the leader of the American Association of University Professors, which represents faculty, and even the local chapter of the college alumni association. No one returned phone calls or emails.

The situation is likely to be clearer as Aug. 31 approaches.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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