The NSCAD Affiliation Report, adopted yesterday by the NSCAD Board of Governors, proves what students have been arguing for years. The report concluded that there are no immediate, medium or long-term savings in the acquisition of NSCAD by Saint Mary’s or Dalhousie University, and that NSCAD must remain independent.
“Students have been fighting against affiliation since the idea was first proposed in 2009,” said Caleb Hung, President of the Students’ Union for NSCAD University (SUNSCAD). “The results of this report should confirm the need for both administrators and government to listen to students, faculty and staff.”
The report states that NSCAD has already been collaborating with other universities in terms of academic offerings and programs, and that this work can continue without affiliating. The report recognizes the importance of a fine arts institution to Nova Scotia, and comes in the wake of provincial funding cuts to the university of 10% between 2011 and 2014.
“The time to question the value of NSCAD is over,” said Yalitsa Riden, Vice President Financial for SUNSCAD. “NSCAD needs to stand united and call for the increased provincial funding that will truly guarantee our independence.”
The $3 million donated by Margaret and David Fountain to NSCAD University, announced today, provides much needed infrastructure support to Atlantic Canada’s only fine arts university. The administration at NSCAD must consult with students, faculty and staff to ensure this money is used to best enrich the education and facilities at the newly titled Fountain Campus.
“This money is an opportunity that NSCAD cannot afford to squander with investments in projects not related to the core educational mandate of our institution,” says NSCAD Student Union President Caleb Hung. “This money should be used to improve the accessibility of NSCAD spaces and to preserve the services that make our fine arts education truly excellent, such as adequate studio space and 24 hour studio access.”
While students accept the need for the Fountain’s gift, there are concerns about the long-term financial health of NSCAD University. Years of government underfunding and poor financial planning have left the institution struggling to provide the quality education it is so well known for. This past year, in an effort to raise additional funds, NSCAD rented out floor space to businesses off Granville Square. This resulted in students losing class space, study time, and being exposed to toxic construction materials.
“Naming rights can only be sold once, but government funding provides the long term financial security our institution so badly needs,” said Hung. “All of NSCAD must stand united in calling for a restoration of core government funding to our university.”
A poll conducted by the Nova Scotia Post Secondary Education Coalition in December of 2013 showed that 87% of Nova Scotians believe post-secondary education should be a high priority for the Nova Scotia Government.
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