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Round Two in the Battle for the Future of New Brunswick Universities

September 13, 2008

[from Greg Cook:]

The Telegraph-Journal appears to relish its non-competitive position, particularly when it comes to a union event. I find in the provincial newspaper no mention of Jim Turk’s visit and public address on Friday, September 12. Notice of his availability to the media, however, resulted in eight interviews – not one of which was with the Telegraph-Journal.

In room 107 of Irving Hall of the UNBSJ campus he spoke to some 70 students, faculty, staff and public.

The Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) congratulated his host – the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers (AUNBT) and their student and public supporters – on winning round one in the battle to “save UNBSJ” following the tabling of the Post Secondary Education Commission’s (Miner/L’Écuyer) report last year.

Turk, an international authority on the commercialization of post-secondary education, critiqued the provincial government’s “Action Plan” in his talk: “Still Getting it Wrong: From Polytechnics to Political Dependence.”

Neglect of the provincial community colleges and underfunding of New Brunswick universities underscored Turk’s concern for university education under siege nationally.

The UNB faculty union president Professor David Bell said in the AUNBT news release that “the threat in New Brunswick continues to be very real. Until we have some sort of assurance from the provincial government that they are not going to meddle in university matters, what is to stop a crisis like last year’s from happening again? Until the government demonstrates a commitment to post-secondary education by funding it accordingly, without political strings attached, the threat is still hanging over our heads.”

Jim Turk suggested that students, professors and their public supporters may win “round two” by assigning their own commision the task of developing a report for the provincial government that will “get it right” – a report that protects the 800 year-old principle of university independence commonly known as “academic freedom” enshrined in current legislation.

  1. Linda Hansen permalink
    September 14, 2008 9:13 am

    They waited until Saturday to announce it — see the City section of the print copy or online

    Published Saturday September 13th, 2008
    Official to discuss university autonomy

    An official with the Canadian Association of University Teachers will visit the University of New Brunswick’s Saint John campus on Sept. 12. Jim Turk, executive director of the association, will discuss university autonomy in the province’s plans for higher education. The association says university autonomy will remain under threat until government adequately funds post-secondary education.

    How useful!

  2. September 14, 2008 10:46 am

    This confiorms one definition of my use of the term “non-competitive.” No self-respecting newspaper could get away from that if it had competition.

  3. September 14, 2008 10:48 am

    get away “with” that, I intended

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