FREDERICTON, N.B. – In conjunction with St. Thomas University, the St. Thomas University Students’ Union (STUSU) is disappointed that St. Thomas University cannot sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of New Brunswick on tuition and funding at this time.
As the STUSU is tasked with representing the interests of all St. Thomas students, we join the university in support of the decision not to sign the MOU due to the impacts that this inequity in public funding has had, and continues to have, on St. Thomas students.
“The wealth of data accumulated over the years makes it clear that St. Thomas’ operating grant is not equitable in comparison to other public universities in the province. As representatives of students, we know that the result of this underfunding greatly impacts St. Thomas students in their day to day lives and this is an issue that needs to be addressed,” said Philippe Ferland, STUSU President.
St. Thomas University’s operating grant currently stands at 89% of the provincial average in terms of operating grant per-weighted full-time student. This means that each year, STU’s operating grant is $1.4 million lower than it should be.
The operating grant also fails to address a variety of STU’s program growth since 1978-79. This includes programs such as majors in Criminology, Journalism, Communications and Public Policy, Science and Technology Studies, Gerontology and Human Rights. The grant has also not accounted for the Bachelor of Social Work and Mi’kmaq/Maliseet Bachelor of Social Work program.
In addition, 73% of St. Thomas students are from New Brunswick and the St. Thomas University community includes a high percentage of low-income and first generation students. Also, over 8% of the STU student body is made up by Indigenous students, which is a percentage well above the national average. It is clear from looking at these types of representation within the STU student body, that these realizations make the inequity in public funding even more pointed and disappointing.
“The matter of inequity in St. Thomas’ public funding begs an extremely obvious and fundamental question for all St. Thomas students to pose – Why is my education as a St. Thomas student worth less than students at other public universities when it comes to public funding?” said Brianna Workman, STUSU Vice-President Education.
As an organization that represents STU students, the STUSU is well aware of the quality of education that is achieved at St. Thomas University. This is why students would like to see the importance of St. Thomas University in New Brunswick’s postsecondary sector reflected in its operating grant.
The STUSU believes the government should support St. Thomas students in a similar way it supports students studying at any of the other three public universities.
It is for these reasons that the STUSU stands with the university in their call for the government to address this long-standing issue with STU’s operating grant, that has had great impacts on the entire St. Thomas community.
The STUSU encourages students to reach out should they have any questions. We remain committed to our students and will strive to update them on this process when there is information to share.
Media Contact: Brianna Workman, STUSU Vice-President Education, 613-294-1263, firstname.lastname@example.org.