1.26.2010

Students At The First Nations University Of Canada Are Maaad

And they should be. (Leader-Post)

There's a reason prairie dog's been railing against the problems at First Nations University for years. Yeah, sometimes we've written in a tone that's a little, erm, disrespectful (says the dude who coined "FNUC'D"). But that's our schtick and people like it.

The larger point is: this college is so important to First Nations people in Saskatchewan and Canada. It's something that ought to be a source of pride. But when it's run by dorks who appear to regard it as their own expense account and ticket to undeserved personal prestige it harms everybody. It hurts the quality of the education students can receive because a lot of great professors won't take a job at a school the Canadian Association of University Teachers has under censure--and with all the bad news coming out of FNUniv, what prof would touch it with a 10-foot pole? It hurts the good staff who work there now, who must wonder if their jobs at FNUniv are a blight on their resumes. It hurts the FSIN's reputation--this is a school that used to have strong international connections until it fired the people who built relationships with aboriginal communities in other countries.

It even hurts the dorks themselves, who risk building for themselves a legacy of shame. How will they be thought of in 10 years? Do they want to be despised and pitied? Do they want to be remembered as the failed leaders who destroyed a great school?

Worst of all, the crap at FNUniv emboldens racist asshats who think this proves First Nations people can't govern themselves.

I said it yesterday and I'll say it today: if the school doesn't have a structure in place by the end of the current term, it needs its funding frozen and the fall 2010 session cancelled. Implementing all the recommendations of the All Chief's Task Force is a good place to start. Suspending Charles Pratt and Al Ducharme is essential, too.

But I fear we've reached the point where a year with the lights off is probably the wake-up call that's needed.

Too many people have been fired, quit, banged their heads against the wall here. Like a badly-healed wound, FNUniv might need to be broken and reset.

At least the bones are strong.

Sorry FNUniv. Prairie dog is rooting for you.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I used to have Al Ducharme as a teacher in grade 5-6. I used to look up to him and really thought he was an admirable guy. Was I wrong. Why would you destroy the very thing that your working towards. How do you manage to write encouraging letters to students then in the next breath your stealing from them and potentially destroying their future. Way Ta Go Al! Every good thought I may have had for you has vanished like a puff of smoke. I hope your next job won't be a free for all trust fund to abuse because you don't deserve it.

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