Students protest course cuts at Selkirk

More than 50 students from Selkirk College and their supporters packed the board room at the Castlegar campus to protest the announced cuts

Selkirk College students Henry Gerelle and Arielle Roberts give a presentation to the college board of governors on Tuesday night calling for the board to stop program cuts.

Selkirk College students Henry Gerelle and Arielle Roberts give a presentation to the college board of governors on Tuesday night calling for the board to stop program cuts.

More than 50 students from Selkirk College and their supporters packed the board room at the Castlegar campus to protest the announced cuts to second year university transfer courses.

The cuts are said to be necessary for the college to overcome a $1.5 million budget shortfall.

Students Henry Gerelle, Arielle Roberts, and Christina Livingston gave a scheduled presentation to the board of governors during their meeting. Their presentation was followed by a presentation from a representative from the student union.

“We’re protesting the cuts to the second years sciences and arts programs here at the college,” said Roberts. “The board will be voting on whether to accept the cuts, and we’re trying to persuade them to vote no.”

“The college was founded to provide two years of education to rural high school graduates who couldn’t or didn’t want to leave the region right away,” said Livingston. “If they cut those programs they cut the purpose for what the college was founded for; it wasn’t founded as a trades college.”

The students say that being able to take second year university courses near home allows local residents to save several thousand dollars.

“It also allows mature students with families a chance to go to school without having to uproot their families,” said Roberts.

Another great reason to take second year courses at a college such as Selkirk is because of the low enrollment even though that is one of the reasons the college is giving to cancel second year courses, said Roberts. “Which is ironic – because that is the point that there are small class sizes and dedicated teachers. It’s not like 300 plus classes where the teachers don’t know the students.”

The provincial government is not putting education as a high priority, said Livingston. “That is why we are in this position in the first place. Another objective of our meeting is to ask the board to stand up with us and ask the Ministry of Education to put education higher up on the list of priorities.”