Here is the text in full of former Dean of Arts Pat Clements’ letter in today’s Journal:
A thoughtful Alberta government celebrated the province’s 50th anniversary by building the Jubilee Auditoriums. It had its legacy vision statement carved on the north wall of the Edmonton Jube. A quotation from a classical historian: “He found a city built of brick — left it built of marble.”
That sets a high standard for government stewardship. Perhaps Premier Alison Redford and Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk should reflect on the statement’s focus on quality.
Generations of Albertans and Edmontonians have devoted hard work, planning, and commitment to building our excellent university, with the result that the University of Alberta is now the flagship university in our province, one of the top three or four universities in our country and a strong presence internationally. It has developed outstanding quality across the board from the core arts and sciences to several distinguished professional faculties. Every year it wins prestigious awards for its teaching and research (last week, it was awarded two prestigious Killam Prizes).
The University of Alberta is a powerhouse of potential for our children, our health, our culture, our economy, our quality of life.
But what will be the legacy of our current government? So far, it is a high-handed, ill-informed, destructive, and “non-negotiable” attack on quality in our university and in the whole post-secondary education system.
This is profoundly disappointing. It is also profoundly wrong. The university does not belong to the government; it belongs to the people.
And what about the new legacy vision statement? Not likely to be so much about marble and excellence, but more about that messy bowl of cornflakes.
Patricia Clements, Edmonton