THE STUDENT MOVEMENT Issue 3—Now online at www.thestudentmovement.webs.com
April 5th, 2010
By Vajo Stajic
Students Fight Cutbacks Concerned students from the Anthropology department met Thursday afternoon to obtain information about their department facing crisis and brainstorm their next steps in improving the campus. Kirsten Francescone, the student departmental representative, and several of her colleagues outlined the current and devastating blow the department was facing. With two full-time faculty leaves in two years without adequate replacement and another professor in the area of archaeology and forensics going on sabbatical next year, the department would be facing a significant reduction in the courses available for students in the years to come. Francescone noted that over her 4 years of study in anthropology that she has had to apply for 3 course substitutions and was forced to get signed into numerous courses in order to graduate on time. She claimed that students would only be facing more hardship in the years to come given the unwillingness of administration to provide her faculty with sufficient resources to adequately staff their courses. She also criticized the rhetoric that the dean and president are using which displaces the blame to the faculty and departmental level. Francescone argued that Cecil Houston (Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science) and the Administration imposed a “flawed logic” in that if the Anthropology department wanted more funding then they needed to increase enrolment. Continued on last page.
Our University, Our Future! All-Campus Forum Our University is at a tipping point, just as the year is about to end. Programs are facing cuts and possible elimination, tuition is set to increase once again and students are being excluded from the decision-making process. This is our University, and our future. It belongs to the students and teachers, not the administrators. We will not let them destroy our education; we are taking it back! Education is a right, not a business. Students in various faculties have already begun taking action as was seen at the President’s Town Hall meeting. All students, unions, faculty and staff are invited to come out to this campus-wide forum to share their experiences and opinions and to unite. Join the Student Movement!
Thursday April 8, 2010 CAW Commons, 5 pm The Student Movement
Privatisation at the University of Windsor When a concerned student brought up the issue of potential privatization at Dr. Wildeman’s Town Hall, the president responded by saying “it’s a turn to degree flexibility,” and “if you don’t like privatization then you can kiss the new engineering building goodbye: it was paid for with private dollars.” So, there is no funding essentially, our only option is to just shut up and pay—or don’t and watch our university fail. This brings me to the idea of “create a crisis,” where public sector funding gets cut to the point where there is a crisis in the educational sector. What happens next is our conservative governments sweep in with beautiful privately funded programs, presenting it as “look what you could have.” Instead of directing our attention to the funding we could get from our governments—funding that we pay for through our taxes—we are told it is no longer a viable option, the only option thus becomes privatization.
appearing in particular ways, presently the LCBO and Ontario Hydro are next on the public-sector chopping block. We need to address this issue of privatization headon, starting with our classrooms but extending to our rights as Canadian citizens. Clearly what President Wildeman meant when he addressed privatization was, yes, your degree will soon have the flexibility to be outsourced to colleges and private educational institutions for a price. And don’t worry, our engineering students will now have the opportunity to engage in low-paying public research in a public institution, but rest assured that that research will be for private interests. University of Windsor, “investing in our futures,” but only if you can afford the cost. By Kirsten Francescone
Materially, this has obvious impacts on access and admissions, along with pitting the privileged against the working poor. Ideologically, its impacts go even deeper. We become consumers of an education that can be bought for a price. But beyond that our peers in the classroom become fellow investors, our professors become shareholders and our degrees become commodities to be purchased by anyone with the capital to invest. This issue of privatization is extremely important for students and is not something that is industry specific. Privatization is slowly creeping across our province and is Students in the LeBel building reading The Student Movement
Is Wildeman’s Strategic Plan Something New? On the heels of President Ross Paul, newly installed University of Windsor President Alan Wildeman has released a framework for a new ―Strategic Plan.‖ The University has had previous strategic plans: The Best of Both Worlds and To Greater Heights under former University President Ross Paul. The essence of previous plans was to restructure the University of Windsor away from being a regionally responsive University with a broad range of programs serving the Windsor and Essex region, to a streamlined university focused mainly on areas that brought the university money either from the provincial government or the private sector. Previous plans came in response to province wide restructuring in the post-secondary education sector led by former Premier Mike Harris and carried forward by The McGuinty Liberal Government which sought to deregulate Universities and College tuitions and put them more under the dictate of global
financial markets under the guise of ―competitiveness.‖ Major components of this restructuring were massive tuition increases from year to year and differentiated tuition increases in different programs. In addition, so-called accountability measures were put in place that were used to force universities to compete against one another for funds, and even for programs within universities to compete against each other for funds. At the Federal level, measures were taken to criminalize student debt in order to ensure that the banks would receive their pound of flesh from student loans. Finance Minister Paul Martin passed legislation making it illegal for students to go bankrupt within 10 years of graduation, while today large companies go bankrupt while they make record profits. Continued on next page.
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Faculties Called on to Oppose Privatization of Universities ―Everything For Sale‖ titles one of the first slides in James Turk's presentation, ―Turning First Rate Universities into Second Rate Companies – the Future of Post-Secondary Education in Canada.‖ ―At the University of Manitoba, the Faculty of Environmental Earth and Resources is now named after Clayton Renell, the president of a large oil company,‖ says Turk, the Executive Director of Canadian Association of University Teachers. ―At McMaster University, the School of Business is named after Michael DeGroot... it's probably the only school... named after someone charged of insider trading.‖ Private donors having faculties and buildings named after them is one of the smaller ways in which universities are moving away from being publicly-funded institutions towards extensions of the corporations.
The shift to private research is directed by the government through ―targeted research funding,‖ says Turk. While it is on the rise for business, science and engineering concentrated narrowly into fields: like the auto industry, manufacturing, forestry, fishing, etc. ―For the majority of biologists, physicists, chemists and engineers, unless they're working in those targeted areas, they can't touch a dime of it [public grants],‖ Turk explains. Another shift is the decrease in government funding and the increase in tuition over the last thirty years. In 1978, government grants made up approximately 80% of university funding. Today, they only cover only around 45%, while tuition covers the rest. Corporate lingo—such as referring to students as ―customers‖ and university presidents as ―CEOs‖—is increasingly prevalent. Administration paycheques are skyrocketing and universities' administrations grow. Presidents are no longer professors who temporarily take up administrative responsibilities and then return to being professors afterwards. More and more they are becoming a part of the corporate world and are detached from the academics they are supposed to serve. The points of reference for presidential salaries are corporate CEOs rather than academic professors.
James Turk speaking with Darryl Gallinger Continued from Something New. Wildeman begins his proposal with high-sounding ideals: ―Universities must contribute to the betterment of society. They have a responsibility through education and enquiry to encourage minds to be creative and entrepreneurial and to help communities be vibrant and sustainable,‖ but then follows up with a set-up for the cuts: ―…and there is an economic reality of greater competition for resources to support public institutions.‖ Statements like this usually mean that the underfunding and privatization of our public Universities is happening anyway, so our only role now is to find a way to be competitive, ie. raise tuition, privatize and cut back in nonprofit making areas (the arts, social sciences, non-industry directed science areas). He goes on to mimic former University of Windsor President Ross Paul stating: ―It is not possible to be all things to all people…‖ Under the previous administration this was seen to mean that areas of the university that don’t bring in the big bucks are the ―all things‖ and these get in the way of ―strategic priorities.‖ Who sets these priorities and in whose interests is not up for discussion. By Enver Villamizar
Universities are attempting to contract out education through schemes such as bringing in private recruiters like Study Group International. They are shifting towards part-time sessionals instead of full-time tenured faculty and are attempting to move online. Turk advocates fighting strongly to raise awareness among students, faculty and staff about these issues and urges them to fight this shift in the media, in the university's senate and in their union's collective agreement negotiations. By Darryl Gallinger
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WHO WE ARE The Student Movement is a newsletter of the University of Windsorâ€™s Drop Fees Coalition, a group of student volunteers. Our goal is to inform our university community about important campus events and to encourage everyone to participate, come forward with stories, and take action on issues that concern them. We hope to build an environment in which political discussion can happen freely amongst students.
A General Letter to Cecil Houston from Anthropology Students Cecil Houston Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Windsor I, __________________________, a student in the department of ________________________ would like to express my concerns regarding the current state of the anthropology program at the University of Windsor.
Continued from Students Fight Cutbacks. One student challenged this noting that many of the students enrolled in Anthropology had transferred from other programs in their first year showing that enrolment had increased. In addition, she indicated that the number of Anthropology graduates this year was the highest in ten years. However, she pointed out that the administration only takes into consideration firstyear enrolment. Another student mentioned that there is a lack of recruitment and stated â€œjust with the website, anthropology is hidden.â€? As more students became involved with the discussion, students started proposing solutions and sharing more stories. After the information session, students collaborated on strategies and created a contact list in order to ensure that these meetings would become a regular occurrence. These anthropology meetings are open to anyone concerned. If you would like to be added to the Listserv please send your name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org By the Editorial Committee, The Student Movement
With the recent retirement and leave of full-time faculty Dr. Reid and Dr. Robertson, I am concerned that, without the replacement of these faculty members the selection of courses currently available to me will not be offered. I am concerned that given the already small number of courses available in the physical and cultural streams, that I or my colleagues will be unable to register for courses either due to class sizes, scheduling conflicts and/or the courses not being offered every year. Given the obvious constraints on my degree thus far, I am concerned that myself or my colleagues may not be able to graduate on time, and, with tuition as high as it is, this is unacceptable. I will not accept a course substitution as a solution as I am well aware that certain courses must be taken in order for my degree to be accepted at post-undergraduate institutions.
Students asking questions at the James Turk talk
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This problem is not one that only concerns anthropology majors, but it is a larger concern for any students who take anthropology courses as electives or prerequisites to satisfy their degrees. I feel that my undergraduate degree will be diluted if you do not take action on behalf of this program.
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