The First Nations University announced Monday it will be putting its original Saskatoon campus up for sale immediately as part of major financial cutbacks to keep the university afloat.
The announcement was made by university president Shauneen Pete to a packed classroom on the campus and broadcast to students and faculty at the Prince Albert and Regina campuses, the Regina Leader-Post reported.
Pete also announced cutbacks in staff and faculty at all three of the school’s campuses. The Leader-Post said Pete, in a brief interview, would not confirm how many people were being let go. “It had grown too big, at this point. What we need to focus back to our purpose and our mission, which is the quality programming for first nations peoples,” the Globe and Mail reported.
Students attending the Saskatoon campus will be allowed to complete their classes up to August 31, but Pete said the school will be sold as soon as a buyer is found, so students won’t be returning this fall. The cutbacks and closures come after the federal and provincial governments announced in February they would be pulling more than $12 million in funding, citing governance issues and growing debt.
Officials have been working to rectify the situation in order to keep the campuses afloat. Since their original decision, the provincial government has reinstated their $5.2 million funding portion, but the federal government has only restored $3 million thus far with no promises of future funding. The Saskatoon campus was originally built in 1976, first named the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College. The main campus is now situated in Regina, with Saskatchewan and Prince Albert acting as the satellite campuses.