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Dismissal of Aurora College board surprises former board member

A former member of Aurora College's board of governors is questioning why the board is being replaced with a single administrator as the college prepares to go through a 'foundational review'.

'I just don't understand the reasoning of cutting the board at this time,' says Lynn Napier-Buckley

'It’s surprising that the board of governors has been removed from the college,' says Lynn Napier-Buckley, a former board member and mayor of Fort Smith. (Submitted by Lynn Napier-Buckley)

A former member of Aurora College's board of governors is questioning why the board was replaced with a single administrator as the college prepares to go through a "foundational review."

Education Minister Alfred Moses made the announcement Monday, a day before the administrator took over.

"I just don't understand the reasoning of cutting the board at this time," said Lynn Napier-Buckley, a former board member and mayor of Fort Smith.

"It's surprising that the board of governors has been removed from the college."

Napier-Buckley sat on the board of governors for about a year and a half before she was asked to quit for criticizing cuts to the college's teacher education program in February. She resigned on February 13. 

 'Stability and continuity' 

When asked why the board was being replaced, Moses said he wanted to maintain "stability and continuity" at Aurora College during their review process.

The review will focus on the college's administration, governance and operations. It is expected to begin sometime this summer.

Cuts to the teacher education and social work programs for 2017-2018 have been deferred until the review is completed.

"Historically there's always been vacancies [within the board of governors]," Moses said. "I thought during this foundational review we wanted something that was going to offer stability moving forward."

Education Minister Alfred Moses announced the replacement of Aurora College's board on June 5. (CBC)

Napier-Buckley isn't buying it.

She said at the annual N.W.T. Association of Communities general meeting in May, one resolution passed was that any significant budget changes to Aurora College must be made with input from the board of governors, municipal leaders and Indigenous government stakeholders.

"What it looks like by making that move is that the board of governors is not going to be consulted on the foundational review," she said.

"I think that the board has valuable insight and experience in regards to the college and has a lot of knowledge that would be beneficial."

Moses said past board members — including the nine just replaced — will be able to give input into the review.

But Napier-Buckley believes the review should have been conducted months ago, before any program cuts were announced.

"It seems a bit out of order for me," she said.

"Don't just cut and then look for why you can make those decisions. Make those decisions based on the foundational review."

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