Busch-Vishniac targeted in latest protest at U of S

A long string of protesters marched into the heart of campus at the University of Saskatchewan late yesterday afternoon, making noise about the controversial cost-cutting project TransformUS, and the senior administration's handling of it.

Marchers call for president's resignation, and a stop to TransformUS cost-cutting project

Protestors take aim at U of S administration for its handling of the TransformUS cost-cutting project. (Kathy Fitzpatrick/CBC)

A long string of protesters marched into the heart of campus at the University of Saskatchewan late yesterday afternoon.

They numbered a couple of hundred or more, including students, staff and professors.

Free speech at the university was compromised- Sarah Newburger, student

They came to make noise about the controversial cost-cutting project TransformUS, and the senior administration's handling of it.

Some banged pots and chanted slogans such as "Transform Yourself!" and "DefendUS!"

A few waved placards calling for university president Ilene Busch-Vishniac to resign.

Tuesday's was the second protest this month, this time sparked by the furor over the removal of an outspoken professor, Robert Buckingham, as head of the school of public health.

"Free speech at the university was compromised last week with the firing of the dean," said Sarah Newburger, a student in microbiology and immunology.

"A lot of changes are going to be taking place, and a lot of them are going to be affecting health science students. So as a health science student I want to make sure that my degree actually means something afterwards."

Trust shaken

Protest organizer Chelsea Davis said trust has been undermined.

"What Dr. Buckingham did, and with his firing, and with the recent resigning of the provost, I think it just gives us a catalyst to fight back against TransformUS and about a system that's very flawed and needs to be stopped," Davis said.

Chief among her criticisms is a lack of transparency on issues such as the university's finances.

"We haven't even seen the books. I don't even know where the deficit is," Davis said.

However, it may take more than a few slogans to dislodge the president and TransformUS.

Busch-Vishniac said she is holding onto her job. And she's set on completing her mission — restructuring the university.

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