Publicly funded universities across Canada are becoming sites for private sector research and development. This threatens the foundations of academic freedom and public, peer-reviewed curiosity driven research.
Universities are entering into donor agreements and deals with corporations that can heavily determine what universities will teach and research. This corporate influence can result in academic programs and research projects that do not promise short-term commercial profits being marginalized.
Not only are corporations fostering a closer relationship with universities, these public institutions are operating as if they are private. External stakeholders now outnumber faculty, staff and students on most Board of Governors - the highest governing body of a university.
This composition, and an overall restructuring of academic governance means that faculty, students and staff are either superficially consulted or actively excluded in decisions making.
When universities operate as if they are private, it is easier to justify replacing public funding with a user-pay approach to financing education. This results in the downloading of costs onto students through tuition fees. In the last two decades, tuition fees have increased by 238 percent, far above rates of inflation.
In 2014, average tuition fees for graduate students increased to $6,432, with some professional programs charging as high as $60,000 a year. At the time of graduation, master students owe an average of $26,000 in student loans while doctoral graduates owe an average of $41,000.
It is time to reclaim our right to accessible and affordable post- secondary education.
It is time to reclaim our universities.
York University's presidential search
Joint-statement about presidential search (25 Nov 2016)
YUFA statement on the presidential search (23 Nov 2016)
IN THE NEWS
York community members decry university corporatization (Excalibur, Nov 23)
York University urged to make search for new president more transparent (Globe and Mail, Nov 21)
York Profs slam presidential search in open letter (Excalibur, Nov 16)
It's time to reclaim our research.
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It's time to reclaim our university boardrooms.
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