November 27, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 50  

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Students protest funding, corporate cash, Santa...

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
MAN, THEY SURE WEREN’T PLANNING FOR THE DOUBLE COHORT. A map of Western circa 1937 shows just how sparse the campus was — they sure loved golf back then.

On Tuesday, Nov. 25, the University of British Columbia held a meeting to announce the corporate donation of $240 million worth of software equipment. Outside the meeting, a group of students had gathered to protest.

“The protesters seemed to have two messages. They thought the premier was there and wanted to protest tuition raises, and they wanted to protest the corporate donation because they felt there would be strings attached,” said Scott Macrae, director of public affairs at UBC. “There were more people inside applauding than outside protesting.”

“This is the biggest gift of this type ever given to [a university] in Canada,” Macrae said, adding the amount donated was much more than any government could realistically contribute.

“The provincial government has cut so much funding that universities are forced to turn to corporate donors,” said Laura Best, VP-academic and university affairs for UBC’s Alma Mater Society, adding she attended the protest in her capacity as a student. The protest was organized by the Social Justice Centre of the UBC AMS, she said.

“[The protesters] wanted a public commitment [from government] to fund post-secondary education in a way that allows them to serve the public with the broadest mandate,” Best explained.

There were some protesters who went topless, with wruting on their chests and backs such as, “Campbell is stealing the shirt off my back,” Best explained, adding there may not have been a large number of protesters but they were very visible.

“We receive all kinds of philanthropic donations, directed to all areas [of the university],” said Ted Garrard, Western’s VP-external, when asked about corporate donations.

“We received $11.4 million in the last fiscal year [from corporate donors],” Garrard said, pointing out there may be more corporate involvement in the university that this number does not reveal.

“Clearly there is a relationship with the reduction in government funding, we all recognize that.”



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