On Campus

Union of hypocrites

After leading the charge against FNU's governance problems, CAUT is upset the feds are doing something about it

The most recent Bulletin from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) slams the federal government for refusing to restore funding to First Nations University of Canada (FNUC).

Here’s Randy Lundy, from FNUC, quoted approvingly  in the article:

We cannot understand the federal government’s decision, coming after the longstanding governance and administrative concerns at the university have been fixed.

Well, first of all, this is incorrect. The decision to cut funding came after years of problems which were never fixed. What Lundy and the CAUT bosses object to is that the government won’t restore the funding, now that the fixes have finally, supposedly, been made. But that’s like a philandering husband who’s been thrown out by his wife asking “why won’t you take me back, now? I’m not cheating any more!” Sorry. Too late.

Now, I sympathize with Lundy. He stands to lose his job through the incompetence of his governors. Everything should be done to find him and faculty members like him new positions. But what galls me is that CAUT has the audacity to pretend that the Federal Government is arbitrarily trying to destroy FNUC for no reason, when it was CAUT itself that led the charge against FNUC’s mismanagement in the first place. It was CAUT who censured FNUC, telling its members that the place was so messed up, no self-respecting academic should have anything to do with it. And now they have the nerve to act like they’ve been on FNUC’s side the whole time?

Remember, it was less than two years ago that CAUT said:

Censure is a measure of last resort used only when we are faced with violations of principles that are fundamental to higher education […] In most cases, university and college administrations recognize the serious consequences censure will have on the reputation of the institution and its ability to recruit staff and students, and they look for ways to resolve problems before censure is imposed. Unfortunately, while the FNUniv administration and board were given every opportunity, they refused to show any serious willingness to address the concerns.

Today, they call, with a straight face, the federal funding cut “a surprise announcement.” How could CAUT be surprised that funding would be cut to a university that they themselves said violated the fundamental principles of higher education?

I am rarely on the side of Stephen Harper’s conservatives, but I applaud them for taking a stand on quality education. Even if the Canadian Association of University Teachers won’t.

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