ANSUT urges Quebec’s National Assembly to reject bill regarding changes to the Charter of the Université de Montréal
The Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers (ANSUT) calls upon the National Assembly of Quebec to vote against a new private member’s bill that would introduce dramatic changes to the Charter of the Université de Montréal (UdeM). ANSUT president Scott Stewart fears the bill, promoted as a way to “modernize” the Charter, will enable the administration of UdeM to acquire additional control of the university and to make it a more corporate entity.
“Unfortunately, this is a trend we are seeing spread across the country,” says Stewart, “and follows the lead of the Nova Scotia government when it passed the Universities Accountability and Sustainability Act in 2015. That act gave the government power to take control away from a university that it deemed financially unsustainable. In doing so, it completely undermined collegial governance, which is how universities have traditionally been run, and also allowed the government to override collective agreements mutually agreed to between individual universities and their faculty associations.”
“It’s quite a boondoggle,” says Stewart. “The government has radically underfunded universities for decades, and then blames them, and especially their faculty associations, for perceived financial difficulties. Then they ‘corporatize’ the university in various ways including changing the composition of the University’s Board of Governors to include far more business people. This is exactly what UdeM administration is trying to do.”
“Universities modelled on private corporations have been a disaster,” says Stewart. “The long and short of it is that these universities increase administration and build new buildings but do so at the expense of their core functions: teaching and research. If this bill passes the Quebec legislature, it will be followed by changes in the Charters of other Quebec universities, and indeed across the country.” Universities are established as institutions serving the public good by engaging in research and teaching. Attempting to turn them into corporate entities by placing more business people on Boards that ultimately control universities has undermined universities ability to foster that public good.