The Canadian University Press has laid off 12 of its part-time staff. 

Dear CUP members,

I’m sorry to inform you that CUP is no longer able to employ its part-time staff for the duration of this academic year. Effective March 1, 2014, our 12 current part-time staff will be laid off from their jobs.

This decision was not taken lightly by the CUP Board of Directors and it is not a reflection of the time, energy and commitment our staff demonstrated consistently throughout this year. The decision was based solely on CUP’s dire financials, which constitutes a state of emergency for our organization.

In the course of two weeks, CUP’s financial situation changed drastically due to several unexpected circumstances. As a result, CUP is projected to run a deficit this year and, with no savings to draw on, it’s imperative for the continued existence of CUP that we take action now to reverse the situation. For more information on these financials, please see the attached report.

The first step was to trim costs; cell phone service, health benefits for national staff and my salary were among the first to go. Unfortunately, these cuts were not enough and we were forced to make the difficult decision to layoff all our part-time staff.

On behalf of the Board and National Bureau Chief Brendan Kergin, I’d like to thank our staff for their hard work and valuable contributions towards making CUP a better organization. You have truly demonstrated what it means to be part of a cooperative community and it’s difficult to describe how much we will miss working with you.

Looking forward, the Board and I are taking long overdue steps to stabilize CUP’s finances and we are taking every action possible to change CUP’s circumstance.

To that end, one of our initial steps is to launch a fundraising campaign on Tuesday. Our goal is to raise enough funds to stabilize and reinstate staff positions next year. For the campaign to succeed — and for CUP to continue to exist full stop —  we will need your help promoting the campaign to any alumni, faculty, journalistic and/or philanthropic networks you may have. Remember, as members you own CUP and share the responsibility of making this campaign a success. I hope we can count on you.  

Our second immediate step forward is a grant-based partnership with the National Campus and Community Radio Association, currently underway. We hope to obtain funding for editorial programming that CUP members can benefit from financially.

In closing, though this is a very difficult time for the organization and many individuals, I feel proud and hopeful that a new era for CUP can start here and now. These cuts and layoffs, awful though they are, represent the first time in two years the Board has taken tangible action to respond to the steady decline in CUP’s financial health.

Perhaps we’ve finally reached a breaking point where actions will speak louder than any motion on the plenary floor. If you believe in CUP, the ideals it promotes, the opportunities it provides and the people who make this organization what is, please throw your full support behind us in the coming weeks. We need you.

Do not hesitate to contact Board Chairperson Adam Thomas Young or myself with questions or comments, and we will keep you informed as new developments occur.

In solidarity,


Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.