If there is any institution more hated by Quebec nationalists than McGill University, I'd be hard put to name it.
Ever since the famous "McGill francais" demonstrations back in 1969, the university has been a symbol of Anglo entitlement and privilege.
Recently a great deal of ink has been spent decrying the fact that McGill is over-funded as compared with Francophone institutions and unfairly benefits from corporate and private donations as well federal government largess.
The refrain goes on and on, but took a decidedly different and strange twist last week, with many articles complaining about the fact that McGill has given up financing it's MBA program through government subsidies, by going the private route.
Early this year, McGill announced that the MBA program in the Desautels Faculty of Management would switch to a "self-funded model" beginning in Fall 2010. The move will see the faculty forgo funding from the Quebec government and cover costs by raising tuition rates to $29,500 per year for the two-year program. The increase in tuition will affect all students. Currently, Quebec students pay an average of $1,672.80 per year, while other Canadian students pay $4,675.68, and international students pay $19,890.....THE McGILL TRIBUNE
McGill, frustrated that it's MBA program rated poorly against other top notch universities decided that it could only compete by spending more on the program. Since they were already spending $10,000 more than they were taking in between the government subsidy and tuition, they decided to abandon the public model completely and build an elite program by charging students the full cost of $29,000 per year.
"But if Quebec is unwilling to pay for the $10,000 shortfall, it's time that they stopped opposing McGill's real-world solution..." THE McGILL TRIBUNE
But of course that's not how nationalists saw it. Why what happens at McGill is of such importance to them is puzzling, after all the school turned down the public money. Strangely, commentators raged against the decision, claiming it to be a harbinger of things to come over on the Francophone side.
"How far does the particular status of McGill allow it to preserve it's reputation by imposing fees of nearly $ 30 000 for an MBA? In deciding to self-finance its entire program and forgo a public subsidy, the Montreal university flouts the rules and opens the door to a practice that could well spread to other faculties. This is a worrying precedent...
In an article on vigile.net entitles "A Diploma for Sale ..to the Rich!" Jean Desautels writes;
"In fact, the price tag attached to this certificate guarantees that the owner comes from a wealthy background, he probably has powerful connections and that his network could potentially be beneficial for a company. As such, he deserves a big salary...."
"....McGill is demonstrating that what interests it, is to recruit rich people, not bright students. Long term, it does not make for very capable managers, but it can provide a lot of generous donors. Isn't that what counts?"
in the THE McGILL TRIBUNE;
"It's unfair to expect other students - like us - to make up that $10,000 when the average MBA student is 28 years old, works in private industry, and commands an average annual salary of $80,000 upon graduation."
A furious Louis Lapointe writes in vigile.net;
"The best way to penalize McGill would be to hit it where it distinguishes itself from all other Quebec universities. The department could order that in the future, McGill include, a proportion of revenue from its foundation in its annual financial statements, in order to reduce the grant paid annually to the Department Education.