Atlantic Institute for Market Studies President Charles Cirtwell notes the Dalhousie Senate gave students academic immunity to skip class on February 2, so they could demonstrate during the Canadian Federation of Students’ Day of Action. They needn’t have – the blizzard ensured any Halifax student could march without missing class.

But Cirtwell says Dalhousie, as well as other universities, want to continue getting what he calls extra cash they enjoyed during Rodney MacDonald‘s government. Therefore, they let the students protest “since it makes for far better TV if 2,000 students call for more cash than if 300 over-paid professors do it.”

Cirtwell argues that, if you look at the numbers, Nova Scotia has “2.5 times the national average in full time professors, 1.5 times the number of grad students, 2.3 times the number of undergrads.” Rather than seeing this as a positive thing, he says that perhaps “it is unsurprising that our ability to pay for it is half as large.”

He says if Nova Scotia had a university system that was “nationally average in scale, we would have 700 fewer professors and 10,000 fewer full-time students. So that equates to closing the Mount, (St. FX), CBU and King’s, or shuttering Dal. Take your pick …”

I’m sure many would argue that looking simply at the numbers distracts from the reality of the situation – that yes, if starting from scratch, Nova Scotia probably wouldn’t have went with 11 separate universities, but that’s where we’re at.

And whether you agree with him or not, Cirtwell makes his point forcefully and backs it up.