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NSPIRG Press Conference

Monday March 30 2009

Venue: Room 224, Dalhousie University Student Union Building
Cost: Free

» More information

Why: To provide a chance for students and the community to speak publicly about the importance of NSPIRG. Key speakers include Megan Leslie and El Jones, as well as a mix of faculty, students, and community members.

It would be great to have a room full of people. We will have coffee and tea and muffins, so come eat breakfast with us!

Megan Leslie, MP for Halifax, will speak to the importance of the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (NSPIRG), a Dalhousie student-funded social and environmental justice organization, at a press conference on Monday morning in the Dalhousie Student Union Building.

NSPIRG, which has been in operation for 20 years, has come under attack by students who seek to have NSPIRG's funding put to a vote by the membership of the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) at an upcoming General Meeting on April 1st.

Other guests at the press conference include faculty, students, and community leaders, who have all been negatively affected by the 'Stop NSPIRG' campaign.

Dalhousie student Shatha Al-Husseini is deeply concerned about the upcoming vote on NSPIRG ."One of the most important experiences at university," says Al-Husseini, "is the ability to connect with people from a variety of backgrounds. NSPIRG allows students to broaden their horizons, to challenge conventional thinking, and to act upon it."

The motion that will go to a vote on April 1st threatens to have NSPIRG removed from their office space in the Dal Student Union Builiding, to withhold their funding for an indeterminate period of time, and to terminate an NSPIRG staff member.

"The history [of Public Interest Research Groups]," writes Dr. Alex Khasnabish, "... is one that universities (and student unions apparently) today are all too willing to abandon: a wider commitment to connecting universities, their resources, and their role as places of learning and research with the broader community."

Many Dalhousie faculty are signing on to a letter in support of NSPIRG, urging Dalhousie students to reflect on its historic role before going to a vote next week.

"Decisions about NSPIRG's access to funding and to space will have negative impacts far beyond Dalhousie and will send a clear message to the rest of Nova Scotia and Canada about the respect for diversity and concern for social and environmental justice at Dalhousie," states the letter.

"I was a student at Dal when NSPIRG formed," says Mark Butler, policy director of the Ecology Action Centre. "I saw a need for it then and there is a need for it now. It gives students the opportunity to engage in real life issues, of consequence to communities and the environment." Butler has been involved both in NSPIRG's community garden, and the Save Lincolnville campaign.

Organizer:Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group www.nspirg.org

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