THUNDER BAY – UPDATED – Lakehead University Student Union is claiming a win by stopping a vote at the Lakehead University Board of Governors yesterday to raise tuition.
The LUSU in a media release state, “Lakehead students intervened yesterday, March 12th, to stop a vote by the Lakehead University Board of Governors to increase tuition fees for the upcoming 2015/16 academic year. The vote was being held without any advance notification to students or the university community, despite earlier assurances from the university that students would be meaningfully consulted”.
LUSA President Ian Kaufman stated, “For Lakehead to take this approach to the tuition fees issue shows a concerning lack of respect for its students. We recognize that the university faces budgetary challenges, and the tuition fees issue is complex. But the very least we expect is an honest and transparent approach, with meaningful student participation.”
The student group Fossil Free Lakehead was attending the public meeting in advance of a presentation later in the meeting on fossil fuel divestment. The group gathered more students into the meeting upon learning that the tuition fees vote was taking place. Statements from the Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU) President and the student representative on the Board of Governors convinced the Board to delay the vote until university administration had meaningfully consulted with the student union.
LUSU will now be putting forward input and recommendations regarding the proposed tuition fee increase and the 2015/16 Lakehead budget in advance of a meeting with the Board Executive on April 7th.
Dr. Brian Stevenson has issued a statement:
“Thank you for the opportunity to respond to our student union president’s concerns.
“The University’s budget process is open, transparent, and consultative. Students are represented on our Board of Governors, the Senate, and several committees, where these topics are discussed.
“Our 2015-2016 budget and tuition have been discussed at two Town Hall meetings since January.
“The tuition increase of 3% is in keeping with the Ontario government’s 4-year tuition framework announced two years ago.
“While Board members were surprised that Mr. Kaufman was surprised about our annual meeting about the budget and tuition, we immediately postponed the matter to the next meeting in April. The Board chair and I also met with Mr. Kaufman immediately following yesterday’s meeting to discuss the matter and apologize for any misunderstandings.
“Another meeting with LUSU to discuss tuition has been scheduled for some time at the end of March. I look forward to it”.
Dr. Brian Stevenson
President & Vice-Chancellor