THUNDER BAY, ON, April 27, 2012 /CNW/ - On Monday, April 30, students at Lakehead University will formally submit an application to the courts challenging the recent move by the University's Board of Governors to remove the right of student governors to participate in and vote on decisions regarding tuition fees and other student issues.
"The university is a public institution in which governing bodies have the duty to represent the communities they serve," said Michael Snoddon, President of the Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU). "As the largest stakeholders at Lakehead University, students have a right to be part of decision making, and to vote on the issues that directly affect us."
On January 27, the Board of Governors voted to change the Conflict of Interest By-law, thereby barring student governors' right to speak and vote on student issues, such as tuition fees, due to a perceived conflict of interest. This is a stark contrast to the by-laws of over 30 universities in Canada, which explicitly encourage students to speak and vote on tuition fee changes.
The students' union has attempted to reach an agreement with the University on the interpretation of the By-law; however, the chair of the Board of Governors has rejected all proposals without debate.
The University's Board of Governors will vote to increase tuition fees by up to 8% at this evening's scheduled meeting. With this vote, tuition fees will have increased 71% since 2006. With the Conflict of Interest By-law changes, there will be no student governor allowed in the room to speak or vote on the proposed tuition fee changes.
"Year after year students have called on the Board of Governors to take action to stop the skyrocketing financial barriers to post-secondary education," said Emily Lauzon, incoming Vice-President Student Issues of LUSU. "Students at Lakehead are being unfairly targeted by the administration and Board of Governors because we have a history of speaking out against the status quo."
The Lakehead University Student Union unites more than 8,100 students studying at Lakehead University at campuses in Thunder Bay and Orillia, and is an active member of the Canadian Federation of Students.
For further information:
Michael Snoddon, President