A bit of a furor has been aroused with Advanced Educations Minister’s recent demands that AU move some 500 people and their families into the rural area of Athabasca. So much so that Minister Nicolaides has been coming out repeatedly to attempt to backpedal some of what has been submitted to the university, first claiming that the Alberta government would have been willing to provide financial help to move people, but that none was asked for, and most recently stating that the government was willing to be flexible on the number of staff required to move to the Athabasca region.
It sounds to me like what they thought would simply be another quiet lock-in for the Athabasca Lac-La Biche riding has generated far more attention than the Minister wanted, with even members of the town wondering how in the world the government came up with a number of people that there’s simply no way for the town to be able to accommodate in such a short time-frame.
To me, the answer’s obvious. They made it up because they didn’t want to engage in any serious consultation with those who they were actually affecting, the employees of Athabasca University. After all the disdain of the UCP for higher learning has been evidenced multiple times, such as when Premier Kenney suggested that COVID-19 was merely “an influenza that does not generally threaten life apart from the elderly, the immune-compromised.” I’m not saying they specifically want to hurt Athabasca University, but to the UCP, it seems fairly well established that the point of post-secondary education is merely to service the economy, ideally in an immediate and direct fashion, as that presents them with the best ability to garner votes in the next election.
The issue caught the attention a student who was so motivated by it that he’s written his first article for the Voice about it. His article not only gives a more balanced view of what’s been happening than I personally think it deserves (and kudos to him for doing so), but also explores how it ties in to the larger trend in our society of the us vs. them, black-and-white mentality of over-reaction, and, more importantly, what might be the cause of that mentality. It’s definitely worth the read.
We’ve also got a new interview with a student who’s juggling a lot of demands but has perhaps the most useful advice I’ve ever seen given to new students. Check out our Minds We Meet with student Tenille Harris, especially if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by your studies on top of everything else you’ve got going.
Plus, we’re featuring a new article by Elisa Neven-Pugh as she delves into the cause of why she’s fighting against the invisibility of the disabled despite there seemingly being so many things, including the reactions of her similarly abled peers, which seem to line up to attempt to stop her.
Of course, that’s not all, as we also have recipes, scholarships, news, thoughtful takes on the meaning of academics, advice, future events and more!