Algonquin College's men-only Saudi Arabia campus loses $1M

Algonquin College has lost close to $1 million operating a male-only campus in Saudi Arabia, according to its financial statements.

Campus in city of Jazan excludes women, drawing criticism

Faculty at Algonquin College in Ottawa, pictured, have raised objections over the school's decision to open a campus in Saudi Arabia. (CBC)

Algonquin College has lost close to $1 million operating a male-only campus in Saudi Arabia, according to its financial statements.

The Algonquin College of Excellence in Jazan opened in 2013 in a partnership that was supposed to make money.

"Algonquin has the unique opportunity to become a global leader in the export of Ontario education," reads the school's 2014 international strategic plan.

But the campus in Jazan has long been a sore point for the faculty union at Algonquin.

Professor Jack Wilson, a vice-president of the faculty union, has been a longtime critic of Algonquin's Saudi Arabia campus. (CBC)

Algonquin professor Jack Wilson, a vice-president of the faculty union, says the region is too unstable and has an "abysmal" human rights record.

"In our first year in Jazan we lost money and the projections of the money that we were to get have been downgraded from the initial forecast of $20 million over five years to just over four [million.] So I'd even question whether it's an appropriate financial investment," he said.

Doug Wotherspoon, vice-president of international and strategic priorities at Algonquin College, wasn't available for comment.

The college has another campus in Kuwait with about 80 students enrolled.

The school's board of governors is meeting Monday night, when the state of the Jazan campus will be discussed. 

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