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First Nations University of Canada. The Canadian Association of University Teachers condemns government's decision

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The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is condemning the federal government’s decision to end funding for the First Nations University of Canada four days after long-called for reforms have been initiated.

Chuck Strahl, Minister for Indian and Northern Affairs, announced today that funding would cease as of March 31, 2010.

"We are in disbelief,” said CAUT executive director James Turk. “We’ve written to Minister Strahl to urge him, in the strongest terms, to reverse this destructive decision."

"For the past five years, we’ve been the most vocal critic of what has been happening at First Nations University, even taking the extraordinary step in November 2008 of censuring the institution’s administration – the first university we have had to censure in almost 30 years,” said Turk. “In that time, the federal government has been silent.”

Strahl’s announcement came just four days after the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations acted to correct the governance problems at the institution by dissolving the Board of Governors and indicating that it would implement the recommendations of its 2005 All-Chiefs’ Task Force – a move long called for by CAUT and the Government of Saskatchewan.

“If the decision to end funding isn’t reversed, the government will be shutting the doors of the First Nations University of Canada at the very moment that positive change is finally underway,” said Turk.

“Destroying the First Nations University serves no one, as no other university fulfils the same function or has the same relation to First Nations peoples.”

February 11, 2010 

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