Teachers, students and other advocates for the First Nations University in Saskatchewan were in Ottawa Thursday to plead for the restoration of $7.2-million in federal funding that was cut after long-running allegations of financial mismanagement.
But Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl turned down their request.
"I did meet with the First Nations University delegation today. I repeated our position that the current funding formula for First Nations University ends as of March 31," Mr. Strahl told the House of Commons.
The federal government will continue to help aboriginal students directly, he said.
But "unfortunately, repeated and ongoing efforts over the past several years did not bring about the change in accountability that Canadian taxpayers expect and aboriginal students deserve. It is time to focus our attention on those aboriginal students themselves and make sure we have more and continued success for them going forward."
The institution, Canada's only aboriginal-run university, has made major changes in an attempt to stay in operation. The old board of governors was dissolved, a new president and vice-president were appointed; but the moves were not enough to sway Ottawa.
"Our future is very uncertain right now," student Diane Adams said after her meeting with Mr. Strahl. "Many students at this university will not choose to go to mainstream institutions. Those students, without this commitment, will exit the postsecondary stream forever."