March 10, 2015 3:27 pm
Updated: March 12, 2015 4:08 pm

Frustrations brew over possible Champlain Regional College separation

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QUEBEC CITY – Teachers and students at St. Lawrence College in Quebec City have launched a campaign asking for independence.

St. Lawrence is one of the three campuses that make up Champlain Regional College, the province’s only multi-regional CEGEP.

The other campuses are located in St. Lambert and Lennoxville.

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“We see this as an anachronism, a dinosaur structure, top-heavy, inefficient, doesn’t grant us the type of autonomy to develop our programs,” said Psychology professor Meagan Daley.

Social science student Philippe Langlois said he prepared a video entitled “Bring Us Home.”

He said St. Lawrence students voted and the result was a resounding ‘yes’ to independence.

“I have friends that are in particular programs that I don’t have at St. Lawrence,” he explained.

They will have to convince stakeholders and Champlain’s Board of Governors each campus would be better off separate – something easier said than done.

“The students don’t necessarily know all the ramifications behind the management of a CEGEP,” St. Lawrence campus director Edward Berryman told Global News.

“Certainly there’s a dimension of cost-sharing and scale economy when you group your services. We know what happened to the health structure, we know what’s going to happen with the school boards, so the strong tendency of our government is to amalgamate structures not to divide them.”

So far, Quebec’s Education Ministry has stayed out of the dispute.

Spokesperson Julie White said the ministry will only analyze the situation once a formal request – signed by the Board of Governors – is sent to the minister.

This is something Berryman said is unlikely to happen.

“I need to see examples of ‘ok the board has blocked us from doing this project,'” he said.

Christine Kerr from the St. Lambert campus was ready with examples.

She said the St. Lambert campus is also seeking independence.

“Here at St. Lambert, we lag far behind other CEGEPs in offering students mobility programs or internships internationally,” she said.

“The computers in our classrooms are barely functioning. If I were the new Education Minister and my mandate were to reduce bureaucracy and save money I would take a long hard look at central administration.”

Teachers from the two campuses joined forces and launched an online petition.

The plan is to have the PQ’s Higher Education Critic, Véronique Hivon, present it at the National Assembly in April.

Until then, Daley and her supporters promise to pursue efforts to have the uniqueness of their college recognized – with or without the board’s support.

“We accepted the ‘no’ that was given from the board when we requested a re-examination of the structure and we said this time we’re not going to accept ‘no,'” said Daley.

“We’re going to bring this to a successful finish.”

© 2015 Shaw Media

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