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Dalhousie libraries saved from proposed budget cuts 

But students fear next year's budget will cut periodicals.

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Recent cuts to Dalhousie University's library acquisitions budget have been stopped, but the battle isn't over yet. “The shortfall's covered for this year,” says student representative John Hutton, from Dalhousie's board of governors. “The crisis hasn't disappeared. It's just sort of been put off.”

Last winter, facing 3.5 percent cuts to all departments, Dalhousie's budget advisory committee recommended a one percent cut to library acquisitions, totalling $64,000. The library's funds, which normally last until February, ran out by October.

The result would have been the loss of over 400 academic journals in the sciences and humanities, were it not for a vocal student response. Over the last month, numerous groups and petitions have protested the cuts and pressured the university to reverse their decision.

It seems to have worked. As of November 8, Dal will be using its “strategic initiative fund” to cover the budget gap. But according to Hutton, the one time use of a “vague slush fund” still leaves the library at risk. “They're saying it's a protected budget item now, but (vice-president academic and provost Carolyn) Watters is saying there's certain things in the budget that shouldn't be there in the first place. It means they're going to cut it. It's a weaselly way around it, in my opinion.”

Hutton, who's been one of the main organizers of the petitions against these cuts, says the administration underestimated the student body's response. “They aren't your usual suspect activists,” he says. “It's like, the Science Society; academically focused keener groups, not the campus activists. I think that caught them off guard.”

A petition currently collecting signatures in room 314 of the Student Union Building will be handed to Dal's board of governors at its Nov. 26 meeting, and to the Provincial Legislature on Nov. 28

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