Volume 96, Issue 2

Thursday, May 30, 2002
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Butting out

Western rich in research

Southern kids winners, northern kids losers

Faculty Association and university set to clash


And the teaching Oscar goes to...

The North: not Ontario's favourite child

News Briefs

Southern kids winners, northern kids losers

By Kelly Marcella
Gazette Staff

With the recent release of an Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations report, universities in Northern Ontario are calling for increased government funding.

The OCUFA report outlines the discrepancy between student enrollment in northern universities, which lies near five per cent of all Ontario post-secondary students, and government funding estimated near 4.25 per cent for the same institutions.

"There are clear inequities in government funding for northern universities resulting in disadvantages for students going to school in the north," said OCUFA executive director Henry Mandelbaum, in a released statement.

"Northern schools comprise full time enrollment of about five per cent, therefore they should receive five per cent of funding," said Joel Duff, Ontario chair for the Canadian Federation of Students. "Northern students are underfunded with respect to the rest of the province. They are at a disadvantage."

When combining the factors of private donations, investment, endowment revenue and sponsored research, the OCUFA report shows northern institutions receive approximately two per cent of total funding across the province.

"We really don't get enough attention because enrollment is low," said Andrew Noakowski, president of the Students' General Association at Laurentian University in Sudbury.

"Base student funding should be exactly the same regardless of where they go to university," said Nipissing University president Dave Marshall.

Marshall said the essential reasons for the lack of funding stem from the age discrepancy between northern and southern universities. Nipissing became a chartered university in 1992 and has maintained steady growth since despite being heavily burdened by lack of funding, he added.

Bruce Skeaff, senior media relations co-ordinator for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, said northern grants included an increase of $1 million in 2001-2002. Skeaff said while the information obtained in the study took all forms of government funding into consideration, OCUFA is ignoring the larger context of the situation.

"The formula used [to calculate funding] is geared towards large universities," said Noakowski, noting Laurentian is also lacking in alumni and private sector support.

Lack of support in these areas is problematic for [northern] universities, Duff said. "Because they are younger, there are far fewer alumni to contribute to operating grants."

The OCUFA report also outlines this lack of support, as alumni and private sector contributions as well as research grants in northern universities range between one and 1.5 per cent, Duff said, adding this represents 20 per cent of what southern universities are receiving.

"Northern universities are absolutely underfunded regardless of specific subsidies that are insufficient," Duff said, adding it is goverment policy to address these inequities.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002