First Nations University of Canada

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First Nations University of Canada
First Nations University 4.jpg
Regina campus
Established Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (1976-2003); First Nations University of Canada (2003-present)
Type federated college
President Juliano Tupone (Acting)[1]
Location Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
50°25′10″N 104°34′56″W / 50.41944°N 104.58222°W / 50.41944; -104.58222Coordinates: 50°25′10″N 104°34′56″W / 50.41944°N 104.58222°W / 50.41944; -104.58222
Campus Regina Campus (Regina)
Saskatoon Campus (Saskatoon)
North Campus (Prince Albert)
Affiliations AUCC
Website [1]
FNUofCanada Logo.svg

The First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) (formerly Saskatchewan Indian Federated College) is a university in Saskatchewan, Canada with campuses in Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert. The Regina campus building was designed by architect Douglas Cardinal.

Basic information[edit]

Although it is called the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) and is recognized as a university by the Saskatchewan Government, the institution is actually a federated college of the University of Regina (U of R), and degrees earned at the institution are conferred by the U of R. The enabling legislation is An Act Respecting the University of Regina, Chapter U-5.[2]

There are three campuses,[3]

  • Regina Campus: 1 First Nations Way, Regina
  • Saskatoon Campus: 226-230 20th Street East, Saskatoon
  • Northern Campus: 1301 Central Ave, Prince Albert

The top two and a half floors of its Regina campus building are leased as office space to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC).[citation needed]

FNUniv students at the Regina campus pay regular U of R related and University of Regina Student Union fees. Like the other federated colleges of Luther and Campion, FNUniv students may utilize all of the U of R facilities (libraries, book stores, clubs, parking, labs, etc.) and services (meal plans, residences, web/on-line services, career counselling, etc.). The FNUniv degree programs are correlated with the rest of the U of R curriculum.

FNUniv is open to students of all cultures and nationalities is not restricted to those of First Nations descent.

History[edit]

HRH The Earl of Wessex opened the university in 2003.[4] HM Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, made it her first engagement during the centennial celebrations of Saskatchewan and Alberta in 2005.

This stone was taken from the grounds of Balmoral Castle in the Highlands of Scotland – a place dear to my great great grandmother, Queen Victoria. It symbolises the foundation of the rights of First Nations peoples reflected in treaties signed with the Crown during her reign. Bearing the cipher of Queen Victoria as well as my own, this stone is presented to the First Nations University of Canada in the hope that it will serve as a reminder of the special relationship between the Sovereign and all First Nations peoples.[5]
 
— Elizabeth II at the First Nations University of Canada, 2005

Star Blanket Cree Nation has proposed a plan to declare the institution's property an Urban Indian reserve under a Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Agreement involving Star Blanket, the provincial and federal governments. Band members of the Star Blanket Nation unanimously voted in favour of this plan during a 2008 referendum.[6]

Partnerships[edit]

The Saskatchewan Indian Federated College was affiliated from the first with the University of Regina. It was founded in 1976 by an agreement between the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the University of Regina, with the stated intent of serving "the academic, cultural and spiritual needs of First Nations' students".[7]

Aboriginal programs[edit]

The university designed special programs in partnership with Aboriginal communities to meet the human resource needs of Aboriginal communities in areas such as health, education and the environment - examples include its National School of Dental Therapy, Nursing and Health Studies programs. A special first-year bridging programs for Aboriginal students is provided, with Aboriginal Elders present on campus to provide social supports. FNUniv offers a comprehensive career services program to meet the vocational problems of Aboriginal students.[8]

Scholarships & Bursaries[edit]

The Government of Canada sponsors an Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool that lists over 680 scholarships, bursaries, and other incentives offered by governments, universities, and industry to support Aboriginal post-secondary participation. First Nations University of Canada scholarships for Aboriginal, First Nations and Métis students include: Adam Dreamhealer Prize; Ayahkamimakan Pimatisiwin (Life Continues) Bursary; Albert Bellegarde Memorial Scholarship; Grain Services Union Bursary; Molson Entrance Scholarship; Hudson's Bay Company Student Achievement Award for Excellence; Information Systems Management (ISM) Scholarship; Many Nations/Maritime Life Assurance Award; Jean Shoebridge Memorial Book Prize; Mary Ahenakew Memorial Scholarship Award; Margaret and Clare Sherrard Friendship Scholarship; Paul J. Dudgeon Memorial Scholarship; SGI Stan Hamilton Scholarship; Solomon Mosquito Scholarship in English; Wendy Swenson Memorial Scholarship; Meyers Norris Penny LLP Scholarship; Bobby Bird Memorial Scholarship; Dr. Oliver Brass Graduate Studies Award; Dr. Suzanne Marcia Nilson Scholarship in Biology.[9]

Controversies[edit]

Professional standing[edit]

In May 2007, the university was put on probation by the AUCC, following a controversy in February 2005, in which the university fired a number of staff members. The association demanded the university establish full independence from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations within a year.[10] The university complied with the AUCC directives, and was reinstated in April 2008.[11]

In November 2008, the Canadian Association of University Teachers voted unanimously to censure FNUniv and asked its members not accept jobs, honours or awards at the university. Changes made relating to academic freedom, governance and political autonomy were reported to be reason for the censure vote.[12] The censure was lifted in April 2010 after the university made very significant governance changes.[13]

Financial support[edit]

In October 2008, the government of Saskatchewan gave the university $1.6 million to relieve a chronic budget deficit. The money was given to cover salaries of faculty and operating expenses. Another $400,000 was to be spent on a review of the university's long-term operations.[14][15]

In February 2009, the provincial government withheld $200,000 of funding. Lack of progress in solving the institution's problems was cited as the reason.[16] By March 18, enough progress had been made for the government to release half the frozen funds.[17]

In June 2009, the federal government withheld $2.4 million in funding, saying it wanted to see changes at the institution before the money would be handed over.[18] University officials responded by accusing the federal and provincial governments of being uncooperative and unnecessarily negative in their attempts to address alleged governance problems.[19] On February 3, 2010, the provincial government of Saskatchewan officially suspended funding the FNUniv effective April 1, 2010.[20] The next day, the FNUniv's board of governors was dissolved.[21] [22] On February 8, 2010, the Canadian federal government announced it will cease funding the University, effective March 31, 2010.[23] [24] However, on March 23, 2010, the province of Saskatchewan restored funding.[25] In June 2010, the federal government announced the provision of $4 million of support in response to the changes in governance that were underway; however, these funds would be administered on behalf of FNUniv by the University of Regina.[26]

Staff problems[edit]

In January 2009, Shauneen Pete was dismissed from her position as Vice-President of Academics for what the University administration said was an internal personnel matter.[27] On January 13, the FNUC Students' Association organized a rally in protest.[28][29]

Two former employees of the institution, Janet Lee Kurtz and Wesley Robert Stevenson, were charged with defrauding the university of the amounts of $21,000 and $15,000 respectively. Both pleaded guilty, were ordered to make full restitution, and agreed to perform community service.[30][31][32]

In December 2009 the university's chief financial officer, Murray Westerlund, left his position. Westerlund said he was fired, but FNUniv's then-President Charles Pratt said the departure was mutually agreed upon.[33] FNUniv officials also missed another series of deadlines to file various reports, which led the federal government to withhold $1.8 million in funding.[34]

In January 2010, documents from November 2009 surfaced which showed that Westerlund had raised concerns about inappropriate spending.[35] Westerlund filed a wrongful dismissal lawsuit against the university on December 17, 2009. The suit claims he was marginalized and then fired for writing the documents which criticized the spending practices of university officials.[36] The provincial Minister of Advanced Education, Rob Norris, called for an emergency meeting with the University of Regina's board of governors to discuss the financial situation at the FNUniv.[37] After the meeting on January 27, Norris hinted that the provincial government may cut off funding to the institution.[38]

In March 2010, it was discovered that nearly $400,000 of the FNUniv's scholarship fund had been spent on general operations. The fund had dwindled from $390,000 in spring 2009 to just $15,000 in February 2010.[39]

On March 19, 2010, Charles Pratt was terminated by the Interim Board of Governors, with cause, as President of FNUniv; he had previously been suspended with pay.[40] Allan Ducharme, the former Vice-president of Administration, was fired on the same day.[41] Dr. Shauneen Pete, who had formerly been dismissed from a leadership post at FNUNiv, was appointed as President in April 2010 for a six-month term.[42]

In August 2012, Charles Pratt and Allan Ducharme reached an out-of-court settlement and First Nations University issued a statement as a part of that settlement, which stated in part "that neither Mr. Pratt nor Mr. Ducharme were found to be in dereliction of their respective duties nor guilty of any financial impropriety".[41]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "First Nations University of Canada Board Confirms Change in Executive Post". April 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ The University of Regina Act.
  3. ^ "FNUniv, Campuses". 
  4. ^ "Canada's first aboriginal-run university opens". CBC News. June 21, 2003. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  5. ^ "Reaffirming the Bond: The 2012 Royal Visit". First Nations University. 
  6. ^ First Nations University of Canada (17 May 2008). "100 per cent Vote in Favour of Urban Reserve Proposal". CNW Group. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  7. ^ SaskNetWork - Federated Colleges
  8. ^ Mendelson, Michael; Alex Usher (2007-05-24). "The Aboriginal University Education Roundtable". University of Winnipeg. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  9. ^ Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool
  10. ^ Birchard, Karen (May 4, 2007). "Canada's Only Aboriginal-Controlled University is Placed on Probation". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  11. ^ "First Nations University back in AUCC's good books". CBC News. 2008-04-02. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  12. ^ "University teachers group censures First Nations University of Canada". CBC News. 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  13. ^ "Delegates to CAUT’s national Council vote unanimously to lift censure of First Nations University of Canada". Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  14. ^ "Bailout helps First Nations University with 'acute financial situation'". CBC News. 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  15. ^ Graham, Jennifer (2008-10-07). "Struggling First Nations University gets $1.6M from Saskatchewan government". Canadian Press. Retrieved 2010-02-04. [dead link]
  16. ^ Warick, Jason (2009-02-28). "Gov't freezes FNUC funding". The Regina Leader Post. CanWest. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  17. ^ Simcoe, Luke (2009-03-19). "Funding to flow again for FNUniv". The Leader-Post. Retrieved 2009-03-19. [dead link]
  18. ^ "Ottawa withholds $2.4M from First Nations University". CBC News. June 18, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  19. ^ Pinchin, Karen (June 26, 2009). "First Nations University says it's being "picked on"". Maclean's. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  20. ^ Hall, Angela (February 3, 2010). "Province cuts off money to First Nations University". Regina Leader-Post. CanWest. [dead link]
  21. ^ "First Nations University board dissolved". CBC News. February 4, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 
  22. ^ "Province Withdraws Funds From Canada's Only Aboriginal University". The Chronicle of Higher Education. May 4, 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  23. ^ "FNUniv loses federal funding". Regina Leader-Post. CanWest. February 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-08. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Ottawa cuts funding to First Nations University". CBC News (CBC News). February 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  25. ^ Karen Birchard (2010-07-11). "Saskatchewan Restores Support for First Nations U. of Canada". Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  26. ^ Graham, Jennifer (2010-05-02). "Troubled First Nations University gets $4-million lifeline from Ottawa". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  27. ^ "First Nations University dismisses top official". CBC News. 2009-01-08. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  28. ^ "First Nations University students upset over firing of top official". CBC News. 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  29. ^ "FNUniv students voice frustrations". The Leader-Post. 2009-01-13. Retrieved 2009-01-28. [dead link]
  30. ^ "More fraud charges at First Nations University". CBC News. 2008-10-01. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  31. ^ "Former FNUC official pleads guilty to fraud". CBC News. June 9, 2011. 
  32. ^ "Former FNUC employee sentenced for theft of university funds". Regina Leader-Post. 
  33. ^ "First Nations University CFO fired". CBC News. December 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-04. 
  34. ^ Warick, Jason (December 6, 2009). "FNUC misses reporting deadlines". The StarPhoenix. CanWest. Retrieved 2009-12-06. [dead link]
  35. ^ "Minister calls for emergency meeting on First Nations University". CBC News. January 22, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-22. 
  36. ^ Warick, Jason (January 22, 2010). "Ex-CFO sues FNUC". The StarPhoenix. CanWest. Retrieved 2010-01-25. [dead link]
  37. ^ Maclean, Rory (January 25, 2010). "FNUC allegations 'disturb' Norris". The StarPhoenix. CanWest. Retrieved 2010-01-25. [dead link]
  38. ^ "Sask. may cut funding to First Nations University". CBC News. January 28, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-2008. 
  39. ^ Wood, James; Jason Warick (March 8, 2010). "Nearly $400,000 from FNUC scholarship fund used by former administration". The StarPhoenix. CanWest. Retrieved 2010-03-09. [dead link]
  40. ^ "Suspended FNUC president fired". CBC News. 19 March 2010. 
  41. ^ a b Lana Haight (August 4, 2012). "FNUniv, fired officials settle out of court". 
  42. ^ Benjoe, K (April 5, 2010). "Shauneen Pete begins six-month term as FNUniv president". Leader-Post. [dead link]

External links[edit]