By Penny Smoke
As the University of Regina deals with a number of program cuts there is a call for transparency from student council in the face of future deficits
The university’s issues resemble recent changes at the First Nations University of Canada.
In 2010 the federal and provincial government cut its funding to FNUniv, causing the university to implement a number of administrative changes including faculty amalgamation and administrative job loss. In light of the cuts, FNUniv created a task force to find solutions on how to meet the requirements of the federal and provincial government’s funding standards and a four-year memorandum of understanding was signed that would ensure balanced budgets. It is in effect until March 2014.
As part of the process, FUniv reduced its faculties from eight to two, the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies which include Indigenous Education, Indian Social Work, Business and Public Administration and Health Science, and the Department of Professional programs which includes English, Indigenous Health studies, Indian Communications, arts, Indian fine arts and Indian art history, Indian language, linguistics, Indigenous studies, environmental health and science and resource and environmental studies.
Former acting president Shauneen Pete, who is currently in Faculty of Education at the U of R but was acting FNUniv president at the time of the changes, explained the goal of restructuring.
”First Nations University of Canada has had a long tradition of serving First Nations and other populations, very effectively in the delivering of intercultural education and it is essential that , that work continues is at the core of that mandate. It was meant to provide an opportunity for people to embrace that empowerment and transform our communities,” said Pete.
There have been rumours that FNUniv is thinking of now re-expanding the number of faculties to four, however university representatives did not respond to requests for interviews by press time. With the memorandum of understanding set to expire in 2014 more changes may be in the air for FNUniv sooner rather than later.