OTTAWA, Sept. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Students at the University of Ottawa were
concerned to hear that the university has launched a new Institute of
Professional Development in Security and Policy today at the Chateau
Laurier. Members of the campus community were surprised to learn of the
new institute, given that there had been no consultations with
students, faculty, or even members of the University's highest
governing body, the Board of Governors.
"As an elected representative of this university's highest governing
body, I was shocked to learn of a new institute being launched without
any consultation or discussion of how it is being funded," said Anaïs
Elboudjaini, a graduate student representative on the Board of
The institute is being announced at an exclusive lunch sponsored by
intelligence companies Symantec and VCE, which cost $60 to attend.
American private intelligence mogul George Friedman is the keynote
speaker at the event. Given intelligence sector corporate sponsorship
of the launch event, questions have been raised regarding the funding
and the aims of the Institute itself.
"When we allow corporate interests to infiltrate academic programs, we
often see funding and support diverted from academic research in the
public interest towards interests of the donor corporations," said
Gabrielle Ross-Marquette, External Commissioner of the Graduate
Students' Association des étudiant.e.s diplômé.e.s, "This
corporatization of academia is often facilitated by corporate oversight
over hiring and firing of faculty, teaching assistants and contract
instructors, content of course curricula, censorship of research
findings, among other means."
"The University's senior administration is frequently telling us that
there is simply no money to fund things like a freeze in tuition fees
for domestic and international students, or fair wages for campus
workers," said Anne-Marie Roy, President of the Student Federation of
the University of Ottawa, "Either the University is committing student
dollars it claims it doesn't have without consultation with students,
or they are allowing significant corporate influence on our campus
without transparency as to the agreements with these private entities."
The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa and the Graduate
Students' Association des étudiant.e.s diplômé.e.s are demanding that
all details of the new institute's aims and finances, as well as any
strategic agreements with external funders be publicly released and
that this institute's activities be suspended until such a time when
the University provides a full report to the Board of Governors and the
Senate for approval.
SOURCE: Student Federation of the University of Ottawa
For further information:
Anne-Marie Roy, President, SFUO, (613) 218-1138
Gabrielle Ross-Marquette, GSAÉD, (613) 818-3381