started this petition to
Peter Keller, VP Academics Office
To view the initial 464 signatures to this petition, click here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G73o_gvLOYXHF5TBPJoyJIcp6q3vkgcSjfSAEhao6ks/edit
To the Simon
Fraser University administration,
undersigned call for your immediate reinstatement of the Aboriginal University
Transition Programs (AUTP).
University Transition Programs fulfill a need that no other program at SFU is
designed to fulfill. AUTP offers an Indigenized curriculum that centres
Indigenous academic and non‐academic voices. AUTP blends Indigenous knowledges
and ways of knowing with traditional academics. It takes on the considerable
challenge of supporting Indigenous students, many of whom have had adverse
experiences in the education system, to gain personal confidence and build
skills necessary for academic excellence.
climate produced by an Indigenous‐centred and Indigenous‐only student body allows
for a unique dynamic of peer support. AUTP students create a cohort that
combats the tensions of being Indigenous in a colonial and colonizing
institution. Students carry this Indigenous cohort on with them into SFU, where
they continue to rely on the trust and interpersonal connections they developed
in the unique AUTP program.
alone in its ability to provide Indigenous‐centred learning, which includes the
holistic support detailed above that Indigenous students require. The structure
of education as it currently stands at SFU is not equipped to support students
who face these kinds of challenges. The fact that SFU would dismiss the crucial
work that AUTP is doing, or suggest it can be easily recreated in another
setting is, unfortunately, an indication of the administration’s lack of
understanding of Indigenous students’ needs.
University has professed its commitment to reconciliatory measures, most
clearly through the Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (SFU‐ARC). The mandate of
SFU‐ARC is “to facilitate and support broad discussions of how the 94
recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be addressed at
the University.” SFU‐ARC also claims that it will “consult broadly with the
Aboriginal and non‐Aboriginal communities both on and off campus” (https://www.sfu.ca/reconciliation/sfu‐arc‐mandate.html).
Cutting the AUTP programs in the midst of SFU’s ARC process is an indication
that this process is not going in the direction that SFU’s current Indigenous
students, faculty, and staff are leading. Considering
where we are in 2017, and the responsibility of higher education institutions
to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations, the
timing of SFU’s cut to AUTP is shocking.
SFU can show itself as a leader in creating a sustainable,
supportive, and Indigenous‐centred post‐secondary education and meeting its own
and TRC’s stated goals. Therefore, we the undersigned call on the SFU
administration to consider the following strong recommendations:
Immediately reinstate the Aboriginal
University Transition Programs for the fall 2017‐18 academic year.
Allow AUTP to finish out its final year of University
Commit to conducting a review
process of the program during the 2017‐18 academic year that will result in a
strengthened and revised program to launch in 2018‐19.
Build a review team that includes current and former AUTP
students, faculty, and staff along with other Indigenous members of SFU, to
review the program over the 2017‐18 academic year.
To address low enrollment concerns,
commit additional resources to the AUTP program to boost recruitment efforts.
Currently, enrollment to AUTP is the sole responsibility of
the program coordinator. The program coordinator is also tasked with running
AUTP in its entirety, from coordinating faculty, ensuring curriculum is on par,
and supporting students. SFU should commit an additional recruiter to AUTP for
the 2017‐18 academic year.
Make tuition for AUTP, and its
future incarnation, free.
At University of Michigan, tuition is waived for those who
quality for the Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver (http://www.michigan.gov/mdcr/0,1607,7‐138‐‐240889‐‐,00.html).
On top of an immediate tuition waiver for AUTP, we believe SFU should develop a
tuition‐waiver program for all Indigenous students at SFU. This would send a
clear message that SFU understands that, as a colonizing institution, it
resides on unceded land stolen from the local Squamish, Musqueam, and
Tsleil‐Waututh First Nations. The gesture of free tuition for Indigenous students
would communicate that SFU is committed to the redistribution of wealth to
Indigenous students and community members.
To view the initial over 400 signatures to this petition, click here: