12/13/2012 10:17 EST | Updated 02/12/2013 05:12 EST

McGill University passes motion against budget cuts

McGill University's Board of Governors said there is no way it can cut $20 million by April, as prescribed by the Parti Québécois government.

The institution's board spoke out for the first time Thursday since the provincial government made the announcement that universities have the next four months to cut $120 million in spending.

For McGill, the cuts represent nearly five per cent of its operating budget.

Heather Munroe-Blum, McGill's principal, called the belt-tightening measures "draconian, unpredictable, [and] ineffective to running a quality-accessibility university system."

The school adopted its budget last spring, before the student protests. At the time, it was banking on collecting higher tuition fees, but the government decided to freeze the price hike for post-secondary education.

Now, the board says the PQ's demands are too much to handle.

"The mood of the board was shocked, outraged, annoyed. And the board deplored the actions of the government in the strongest possible terms," said the board's chairman, Kip Cobbett.

Cobbett said the Board of Governors is asking the PQ to withdraw the retroactive cuts and restore the commitments to university funding that were in place when the school approved its budget last spring.

The Quebec government said everyone has to pitch in to help Quebec reach its fiscal goals, but university rectors are promising the government will hear more from them in coming weeks.