Navitas partnership remains a contentious issue for uManitoba senate

December 11, 2012

University of Manitoba faculty members are raising concerns about a private college operating on campus, which is the subject of criticism by some students for its recruitment practices and refund policy. In 2008, uManitoba signed a 5-year agreement with Navitas, an Australian for-profit education firm, to create International College Manitoba (ICM), an international university transfer program. ICM remains a contentious subject in uManitoba's senate, reports the CBC. Some senators have questioned why they did not have more involvement in the decision to bring ICM to uManitoba, and why they do not have more oversight of its activities. Meeting minutes indicate that senators had to file a freedom-of-information request in 2008 and 2009 to see a copy of the contract between uManitoba and Navitas. Initially their request was denied, but an appeal to the provincial ombudsman resulted in a version being released to them, albeit with financial information blacked out. According to senate minutes, the document was subsequently made available for public viewing in the Office of the University Secretary. CBC reports that a copy of the contract it obtained through an FOI request had the financial information blacked out. This kind of secrecy is "the norm [in the private sector], but it's a problem at a publicly funded institution," says a former president of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA). He says UMFA is concerned about ICM mainly because it represents an outsourcing of teaching. UMFA has warned its members about cooperating with the college, and some departments have declined to work with it. As for students' complaints about ICM, a uManitoba vice-provost says officials will look into the allegations. CBC (UMFA concerns) | CBC (student complaints)