Students protest funding, corporate cash, Santa...
By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette file photo
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
“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
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
“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.”