Athabasca University president calls Alberta on-site staffing demand backward, ruinous |

The president of Athabasca University says the Alberta government’s demand that the online school relocate 500 staffers to the tiny rural town is so backward and self-defeating it threatens to put the institution “on the path to ruin.”

Peter Scott, in a video speech to staff and students, implores those concerned to contact Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides and make their feelings known.

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Earlier this week, Nicolaides ordered the school to come up with a plan within two months to have more school staff physically work in Athabasca.

Nicolaides has said the school can still be effective while helping the economy grow in the town of less than 3,000 north of Edmonton.

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If the school doesn’t put the relocation plan into action, the minister warns the school and its 40,000 students could face a cut to the monthly multimillion-dollar grant — a cut Scott acknowledges will ultimately bankrupt the school.

Scott says the relocation move would be hard to implement and threatens to fatally undermine the school’s goal of attracting top talent and flourishing in the growing field of online education.

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