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ANSUT condemns Liberals’ Universities Accountability and Sustainability Act

by Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers (ANSUT)

HALIFAX – The Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers (ANSUT), which represents over 1400 university teaching faculty and librarians in the province, condemned the proposed Universities Accountability and Sustainability Act today. Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan introduced the Act for first reading on April 22. 
The Liberal government advertised incoming financial oversight measures for universities when it released its report in March on last year’s much contested “university consultation” process. ANSUT and other organizations called for financial oversight during the “consultation,” in order to ensure that money is not diverted from universities’ core operating budgets, which fund academic programmes, to capital investment, administrative compensation, and other non-academic budgets. 
The Act reflects none of those concerns. It substitutes for educational priorities generic “accountability to the taxpayer” political advertising that does nothing to address our system’s structural problems. “Nova Scotians are faced with a basic, yet complex, choice about our post-secondary education system,” ANSUT President Marc Lamoureux said Thursday morning. “Do we want an education system primarily devoted to business concerns, or do we want an education system that educates people? We can’t have both. 
The Liberal government seems not to recognize that this choice is before us. Perhaps it does not wish to.”Lamoureux continued: “There are many other problems with the Act. It threatens collective bargaining rights, most notably the right to strike and the right to file grievances, by allowing academic employers to invoke financial emergency. These encroachments are of great concern to our members. But the biggest issue remains this government’s general understanding, or misunderstanding, of why our post-secondary education system exists at all. If they wish to cut corners with respect to labour relations, it’s because they seek to reshape the system for reasons that have little to do with education.”
ANSUT calls on parliamentarians to vote against the Act, and to work with faculty, studentand staff groups to help our post-secondary education system carry out its core mission: to give young people a well-rounded, affordable education from excellent teachers, and to foster a vibrant, diverse Nova Scotia.
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Topics: Education
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