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P.E.I. legislature to restrict funding to UPEI if it doesn't take steps to improve issues from report

The P.E.I. legislature Wednesday unanimously approved an amendment to put the University of Prince Edward Island, and all other public post secondary institutions, under the purview of the PEI Ombudsman.

Green Party MLA Karla Bernard sponsored the bill. She said there needs to be accountability beyond the institution to deal with complaints.

“Right now it’s really important that we get this in place as soon as possible so that there is a mechanism as we make our way through,” said Bernard.

“To make sure that U P.E.I. is a safe place for students and staff.”

The new bill stems from a report by a Toronto law firm released last week that outlined a toxic culture at the university. The report noted incidents of bullying, sexual assault, and a lack of accountability among the leadership.

Liberal MLA Gord McNeilly also made a motion Wednesday that would restrict provincial funding to the university if it doesn’t take steps towards improving issues laid out in the Rubin Thomlinson report by early September.


“Where are you with your actions?” said McNeilly. ”Have you identified, and taken this report seriously? In all indications U P.E.I. has.”

It was unanimously adopted as well.

The province spends roughly $50 million a year on grants for U P.E.I.

The University has signalled support for the increased oversight. In a statement this Wednesday morning, officials said “the University of Prince Edward Island believes the proposed changes to the Ombudsperson Act are positive ones. We would welcome the opportunity to work with OmbudsPEI to provide an external mechanism for review of practices and decisions, subsequent to internal processes.”

However, the university has not responded to the motion that limits provincial spending based on taking action on the report’s recommendations.

In a notice to the campus community late Wednesday, U P.E.I. Board of Governors chair Pat Sinnott announced his resignation.

Sinnott sat on the board since 2009, and served as chair since 2015. During that time the first complaints against former university president Alaa Abd-El-Aziz came to light.

Despite that, Abd-El-Aziz was reappointed to his role multiple times.

Andrew Bartlett, another long standing member of the board, has also resigned. Top Stories

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