Posts Tagged ‘CAUT’

Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) News Release

(Ottawa, June 2, 2010) The organization that represents more than 65,000 academic staff at 122 universities and colleges across Canada is pleased with today’s federal government announcement that it will provide up to an additional $4 million in funding for the First Nations University of Canada, but warns that a commitment on long-term core funding is essential to the institution’s survival.

Indian and Northern Affairs minister Chuck Strahl announced today that the “transitional” funding would be provided through the Indian Studies Support Program (ISSP).

“We are pleased that the federal government has stepped in with enough funding for this vital institution to survive until March 31, 2011,” said CAUT’s executive director James Turk.

“But the only way First Nations University can be assured of any real future is with a federal government willingness to restore long-term core funding,” he added. “No university can survive short-term project funding, which makes it impossible for the institution, faculty and students to plan ahead.”

“It is simply impossible to ensure four year student programs when you don’t know what funding you will have from year-to-year,” he added.

Turk said he was disappointed that despite today’s announcement, significant lay-offs will still be taking place.

This spring more than 2,000 academics signed onto an open letter circulated by CAUT calling on the federal government to fully restore funding for the university.

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From an opinion piece by Jesse Rae Archibald-Barber published in the CAUT Bulletin of May, 2010.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially apologized in June 2008 to the tens of thousands of former students of the residential schools system. “We now recognize that it was wrong to separate children from rich and vibrant cultures and traditions — that it created a void in many lives and communities, and we apologize for having done this,” he said.

“There is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired the Indian Residential Schools system to ever prevail again. You have been working on recovering from this experience for a long time and in a very real sense, we are now joining you on this journey.”

Last month, faculty of the First Nations University of Canada gathered to showcase the academic ex­cellence of the school. If anything, this place, this school, provides a way of recovering from past educational policies that the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs im­posed on First Nations communities throughout the history of this country.

Read the full opinion piece in the CAUT Bulletin.

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From an editorial by Doug Cuthand in the StarPhoenix of April 30, 2010.

The First Nations University of Canada, too, has been cast aside by the federal government. This month’s payroll may well be the last for many FNUC staff. Funds have run out and Ottawa refuses to reinstate its funding despite all the positive moves the university’s new board of governors has made.

The University of Regina is onside to provide administrative support, and the Canadian Association of University Teachers has lifted its censure of FNUC. The university is on the right path to reform, but the federal minister is steadfast in his refusal to support this institution. It’s obvious that First Nations institutions are not part of the Conservative government’s political landscape.

Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl began his political career as a member of the Reform party that begat the Canadian Alliance which morphed into the new Conservative Party of Canada. The Reform party was to the right of the old Progressive Conservative party and made considerable noise about First Nations politics and accountability.

This may have appealed to the Tories’ redneck base, but once in power they tried to bury their past. However they continued to attack First Nations and aboriginal issues. They scrapped the Kelowna Accord, refused to sign on to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous peoples and, when FNUC encountered internal problems, they jumped on the chance to destroy the university.

In spite of the best efforts of the new board, the new president and the University of Regina, the federal government remains steadfast in its desire to shut down FNUC.

Read more in the StarPhoenix.

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Censure of FNUC lifted

From an article by Sarah Richter posted on the Global News web site on April 23, 2010.

In what is being seen as a huge show of confidence in the First Nations University of Canada, the Canadian Association of University Teachers has voted unanimously to lift its censure of the school.

The censure lasted 17 months after being imposed in 2008 amid concerns over how the university was being run. The move marked the first time in 30 years CAUT decided on such a drastic measure.

After several months of seeing positive changes take place, CAUT became encouraged and decided to lift the censure.

Read the full article on Global Toronto.

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(Ottawa – April 23, 2010) Delegates to the national Council of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) meeting in Ottawa have voted unanimously to immediately lift the censure imposed on First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) 17 months ago.

CAUT decided to impose censure – a step that hadn’t been used in almost 30 years – because of an ongoing refusal to implement changes to address governance issues that had brought about attacks on academic freedom and financial mismanagement.

“Back in 2008 we took that very serious step hoping that it would help encourage change, and that change has come,” said CAUT Executive Director James Turk.

In the past two months, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), under the leadership of a new Chief, Guy Lonechild, has made enormous changes that have addressed concerns about the university’s governance structure, and has worked with FNUniv, the University of Regina and the Government of Saskatchewan to build a partnership agreement to ensure financial and administrative accountability.

“Now that these steps have been taken, the biggest threat to the First Nations University’s survival is the federal government, which, despite the changes, refuses to restore full funding,” said Turk.

“We were once one of the loudest voices in the country when it came to demanding changes at the institution – those changes have been made, so we’ve lifted censure, and it is time for the federal government to do its part,” he added.

Today’s vote means that academic staff in Canada and internationally will no longer be discouraged from accepting appointments or invitations to participate in academic conferences at the institution.

CAUT is the national voice of more than 65,000 academic staff at 122 universities and colleges across Canada.

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From an article by Stephen LaRose published on rabble.ca on April 13, 2010.

The province has agreed to bring back its funding — after FNUC signed a four-year deal with the University of Regina, allowing the university to handle FNUC’s money, which was where many of the battles over FNUC’s control by the FSIN occurred, and which was roasted in Westerlund’s report.

But Ottawa has thought otherwise. Four days after the chiefs’ congress removed the board of governors, Strahl announced that INAC would suspend its $7.2 million operating payment to the college. The transitional funding announced March 30 probably pays for the severance packages of professors, who will be eagerly picked up by other universities and colleges in Canada. As for the students, they get squat.

“In reality, it means the end of First Nations University,” says Jim Turk, the executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. (Officials from FNUC, the student council and officials from the FSIN were unavailable for comment as the story went to press.)

Strahl’s announcement does little good for FNUC’s current students. Take Swan, for example. FNUC has one of the three aboriginal linguistics programs in Canada he requires to earn his degree in his area of specialization. But if and when FNUC closes its doors, Strahl’s plan calls for students enrolled in his program to move to another university. Except, in Swan’s case, the nearest university — the U of Regina — doesn’t have an indigenous studies department, so where does he go to complete his education?

Read the full article on rabble.ca.

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From an article by Pamela Roth in the Leader-Post of April 14, 2010.

First Nations University (FNUniv) President Shauneen Pete was trying her best to remain hopeful prior to boarding a plane for Ottawa on Wednesday to present a business case to Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl that could help determine the future of the troubled school.

The business case will provide the opportunity for the university to restructure, and includes an application for $4.2 million to assist with things like severance payments, said Pete.

In addition, it includes details on restructuring costs, which will be raised through fundraising and go towards program renewal.

Read the full article in the Leader-Post.

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