Byrne calls for meeting with College of the North Atlantic president

TC Media newsroom@thewesternstar.com
Published on May 23, 2014

Gerry Byrne wants the president of the College of the North Atlantic to meet with him and other community leaders to discuss what is happening with the school’s Corner Brook campus.

The Liberal Commons member for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte said such a meeting with Ann Marie Vaughn would focus specifically on recent cuts to Corner Brook’s academic programs and concerns over enrollment.

The MP is concerned about the effect on future enrollment arising from what he said was the late timing of letters of admission to key programs.

Byrne said those same concerns have been communicated to him by the college’s faculty, staff and prospective students who have allegedly told Byrne they have received late admission letters. He said the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public Employees (NAPE), the union representing college staff, has also expressed similar concerns to him.

“Regrettably, we have seen an erosion of the programs, staff and of the number of students attending this campus in recent years,” Byrne said in a press release issued late Thursday. “And we have a disagreement over the facts surrounding the situation. The only way to clarify those facts would be to meet face to face and on the record with key stakeholders.”

Byrne referenced a recent article published in The Western Star in which Vaughn said the three programs cut at the Corner Brook campus were “excellent” programs, but had low enrollment levels. Vaughn also said the faculty who ran the programs remained employed and have spent the past year looking for ways to revamp the programs with the hope of reinstating them.

“After such an admission, the credibility of management at the College of the North Atlantic is in question and should cause us all a moment of pause before accepting management’s current assertions on issues like the timing of the admissions process, the effect on enrollment and the assessment of program viability on their face,” charged Byrne in his prepared statement.

Byrne said he has spoken with NAPE president Carol Furlong and the Canadian Federation of Students and said both told him they would be interested in such a meeting with Vaughn. Byrne said he also intends to invite representatives from Corner Brook city council and the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade, along with the Corner Brook area’s three MHAs — Premier Tom Marshall, Vaughn Granter and Eddie Joyce.