05/20/2014 01:35 EDT | Updated 07/20/2014 05:59 EDT

Ilene Busch-Vishniac, U of S president, faces calls to resign

Students at the University of Saskatchewan are planning a mass demonstration this afternoon calling for the resignation of university president Ilene Busch-Vishniac and to draw attention to the controversial TransformUS restructuring plan.

The university's administration has been in hot water after professor Robert Buckingham was fired last week. Buckingham had his tenure restored the following day, but not his administrative job as dean of the School of Public Health.

Today, students like Nick Marlatte are raising their concerns through a rally on campus.

"I think there has been a lot of turmoil on campus that's really been poorly guided," Marlatte said. "It's been incredibly difficult for students to organize on campus just given the fact that studies get in the way and a lot of different aspects, especially in terms of how the TransformUS process has been carried out, has not been accommodating to that."

Marlatte said students are upset that the university is not listening to students and faculty in the TransformUS process.

TransformUS is a plan to reset spending priorities and find $20 million in savings in an attempt to head off a $44.5-million deficit that is expected by 2016. 

On Monday night, University of Saskatchewan provost and academic vice-president Brett Fairbairn suddenly resigned at an emergency board of governors meeting. Marlatte said students still want to pressure the board of governors and senior administration until president Busch-Vishniac resigns.

"We're really unsatisfied with the fact that Brett [Fairbairn] has been made a sacrificial lamb in this," he said. "It's a broader group of people within the senior leadership that's actually been tainting the university's reputation."

This isn't the first time students have rallied to protest TransformUS. A similar rally — before the Buckingham affair — was held on May 1.