When the community is concerned, a name is everything

Dear Editor,

Northwest Community College was born in 1975 when the NDP government established several community colleges around B.C., as the vocational school was established in Terrace already and lots of classroom space existed, it made sense to add an academic faculty.

I had the opportunity to serve as a coordinator and instructor for eight years, a wonderful experience building the academic section of the college from scratch.

The community college was established to deliver education to people that had not had access to higher education, emphasized the needs of women, aboriginal people and workers. These preferences had long ago been stripped from college policy, in other words, the college was established to provide opportunities to study special programs such as nursing, social services etc., but also provide first and second year university classes.

Transferable university programs over the years have made it possible for local people to transfer to university. It is very challenging for a young person, especially from a small town, to fit into a class of 200 students at university, and in the first year the failure percentage is very high. To take the first two years at a community college with much smaller classes and close communication with instructors gives the student a much better chance of success, as well as saving thousands of dollars of travel, room and board and so on by staying at home while studying.

The Northwest Community College has in recent years systematically closed programs to the point that it is difficult to provide enough subjects for first-year university transfer and impossible for second year – one would be forgiven for thinking that the plan is to revert back to the vocational school and just keep enough academic courses to complete the special programs, nursing, social services etc.

As a journey person I am in favor of vocational training, but not everyone wants to become a construction worker or machine operator. The changes to the college are reverting back to where it used to be, where only wealthy people can go to university.

The spending of millions to expand the vocational part of the college while diminishing the academic faculty enhances my suspicion that the college board members, mostly businesspeople all selected by the previous government, and the administration insisting on removing the word” community” from the name, the community part has in fact been taken out years ago.

So what’s wrong with having the word “community” in the name? Nothing if you serve the community but I would assume that a more classy name is favorable if your strategy is to sell the college to students from overseas. The fees for these students are much higher than the already high fees the locals pay. The college has as many as four people [$100,000 per year each] travelling to places like China to recruit students. Last when I inquired, there were 40 such students who probably will receive a diploma stating they passed Business Administration – my guess is that what is happening is English as a second language.

What is the purpose of recruiting overseas? It is apparently not to improve programs, therefore the only reason that I can see is to keep the 30-plus non-teaching administrators on the payroll [close to $4 million a year]. They seem to have forgotten that education is not a business.

If the” community” is removed from the name, it relieves the college from its responsibility to the northwest communities – the intent of this move might be exactly that.

Patrick Rife. former college Bursar in his letter September 28 clearly stated his position regarding the college name change and was very proud to have been part of purchasing five campuses. While I agree with Mr. Rife regarding the logo, the Thunderbird displayed is not a West Coast totem and in fact was not created by an indigenous person, it should be redesigned but not necessarily discarded.

Living in the U.K., Mr. Rife may not be aware that several of the buildings that he was proud of purchasing are no longer being used, which is another indication of the removal of community involvement.

Keep the name but more importantly the spirit of the community college.

John Jensen

Terrace, BC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Flags lowered in honour of the late Bill McRae

Community leader, businessman passed away July 9

LETTER: Terrace mayor cites Bill McRae’s accomplishments

“Hard work and incredible character became a gift to the City of Terrace.”

Royal LePage Aspire Realty buys office in Terrace

Owner Rod Mcleod said the move will increase connectivity in northern B.C.

Ferry Island Campground in Terrace now open to out of province visitors

Decision based on recommendations from the provincial government

Infinite Ice’s holistic hockey program returning to Terrace in August

COVID-19 precautions in place for on-ice training, meditation, yoga and nutrition classes

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read