Until Champlain Regional College’s institutional problems are addressed, teachers and support staff at St. Lawrence and St-Lambert Colleges, as well as St. Lawrence’s professionals, decided during their respective assemblies to no longer elect representatives to the board. These employee groups are once again asking the Quebec government to intervene and give full and complete autonomy to each campus so as to provide better services to students and communities in each region.
“We believe there is a real structural problem within the board, which prevents our region from being well represented. We voted for this measure because we can no longer lend this failed structure any kind of legitimacy,” reports the president of Champlain College Teachers Association (St-Lambert), Christine Kerr.
The two campuses are affiliated with Champlain Regional College. One is located in St-Lambert, on the south shore of Montreal but in the Montérégie region, and the second is in Quebec City. Two other institutions are also represented on the board: the Lennoxville campus and the central administration in Sherbrooke.
“If we take the example of the support staff representative on the board, each campus is represented with a seat on the board only three years out of every twelve, since the rotation of three year mandates is shared by employees at four locations. This is unacceptable! Especially as the Colleges Act provides for ongoing representation by support staff through an election by their peers. Currently, support staff from the head office in Sherbrooke make up part of the rotation with the three campuses, even though they do not welcome a single student. This is a real irregularity to be corrected,” explains the president of the cegep support sector at the Fédération des employées et employés des services publics (FEESP-CSN), Johanne Cadieux, who supports the fight for autonomy.
Champlain Regional College is the only multiregional college in Quebec. It, therefore, receives just one budget, which must then be divided among three campuses and a central administrative office; this results in significant shortages in staff and professionals and hampers delivery of services. If each campus was autonomous under Chapter 1 of the Colleges Act, St-Lambert and St. Lawrence would meet the five criteria of a college set by the Parent Commission when cegeps were created: one administrative structure, one educational leadership, one faculty and staff body, one student body and one region. Stakeholders in each region would always be represented on a local Board of Governors, which would create a new synergy between each college and its region.
“Management at Champlain Regional College is sticking its head in the sand by claiming that everything is working properly and by reducing problems to one single aspect of governance. The current structure has a genuinely negative impact on services offered to students, as well as on communities in each region,” deplores the vice-president of the cegep sector at the Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ-CSN), Nicole Lefebvre. “This is why our members have unanimously supported legitimate demands for autonomy made by St-Lawrence and St-Lambert Colleges since December 2014.”
The Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ-CSN) represents some 34,000 members in Quebec cegeps and universities, as well as secondary and college-level private institutions. It is the most representative union organization in higher education in Quebec.
The cegep support sector of the Fédération des employées et employés des services publics (FEESP-CSN) represents more than 4,500 members in 34 college institutions and two computer centres. FEESP-CSN represents more than 70% of college support staff.
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Chu Anh Pham
advisor, CSN Information Service
cell (514) 348-2530, office (514) 598-2163