Scrap the board, First Nations University students say
Students from First Nations University of Canada are calling on chiefs to dissolve the university's board of governors and appoint new leaders.
The call came Wednesday as a busload of FNUC students from Regina headed down to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations winter assembly near Saskatoon.
"We're going to ask all 74 chiefs, to please, in the best interests.....they're going to have to dissolve the board," said Cadmus Delorme, vice-president of the FNUC students' association.
Some students, worried about being able to complete their degrees, say they want the University of Regina to temporarily assume control at FNUC.
The students' association has also called for the suspension of top administrators, such as university president Charles Pratt and vice-president Al Ducharme.
FNUC, which is controlled by FSIN, has been embroiled in a series of controversies in recent years, including budget deficits, a string of departures and dismissals of senior staff, and allegations of misspending.
The university's board of governors has already weathered criticism that it's too big and gives too much control to chiefs and the FSIN.
Dissolving the board would solve that problem, Delorme said.
"We know our 74 chiefs can refill those seats with qualified people," Delorme said. "Experts in business, experts in education, experts in Indian art."
While students were on their way to the meeting at Dakota Whitecap First Nation, the provincial cabinet was also meeting to discuss what to do about the university. Last year, the university received a $4 million grant from the province, but Advanced Education Minister Rob Norris said last week that future funding is in jeopardy.
Later in the day the government announced it had, in fact, decided to stop funding FNUC.
Delorme said he's worried about funding cuts, too.
"We love our institution. we are tired of the negativity over the years that has been brought to the institution," he said.