The Department of Neuroscience at Carleton University is home to over 500 undergraduates and 49 graduate students, and is actively engaged in critical research in the fields of Mental Health, Parkinson’s disease, Concussion and TBI, Obesity and eating disorders and Chronic Pain. Carleton University was recently awarded a grant for shovel ready projects to retrofit the Life Sciences Research Building. The problem is this project was not shovel ready. On November 11th, 2016 Faculty, Students, and staff were informed that we have to be out of our research facility before March 1st – a little over 3 months notice with no plan provided as to where we were supposed to go. The University is in the process of building a new research facility to house the Department of Neuroscience, however, this building will not be ready until Fall 2017 and not fully operational until Winter 2018.
On November 30th the University Administration announced that they had unilaterally signed an agreement with the University of Ottawa securing us significantly less space in their animal care facilities than we currently occupy with no wet lab space access, and no provision for students or faculty. This means that we will have to move 2 times in less than 1 year, with insufficient temporary research space, and no indication of whether our specialized equipment that is critical for our research will follow. If this eviction proceeds, it will effectively bring most of our critical research to a complete stop. Both graduate and undergraduate students attempting to obtain a research education will be seriously affected and many may have to be granted extensions in order to complete their degrees.
Students are already suffering from mental health issues including stress-related disorders, depression, and anxiety over this situation and the uncertainty surrounding their futures.
Carleton administration says they are being held to restrictive timelines by the funding organizations – the Governments of Canada and Ontario. We have reached out to offices of both governments and they claim it is the other party that is setting the deadline.
All the decisions regarding our future – at the undergraduate, graduate, and even faculty level – have been made without consultation of the affected parties and have been unilaterally made by the senior university administration. Furthermore, we feel that it is completely unreasonable that the University decrees an eviction with just over 3 months notice.
(See the timeline of events for more details)
To support us, please consider doing the following
1) Contact your MP and MPP and personally ask them to intervene in this situation. A mutually-beneficial outcome CAN be achieved if federal and provincial funding agencies support an extension.
2) Sign our change.org petition asking the funding parties to grant a 9-month extension on the infrastructure grant to allow us to remain where we are until our new facility is open. This is the BEST option for ensuring a win-win outcome. We don’t want the university to lose opportunity for a new building, but it cannot be obtained at the expense of an existing faculty.
3) Sign the petition on this website to send a letter to all our senior administration (it is on the right-hand side in the bright orange button).
4) If you can, please consider donating to the students’ effort to raise funds through GoFundMe to obtain legal representation in support of delaying or halting work until a mutually agreeable solution with the administration can be achieved. Of course, the preferred option is to arrive at an agreement without legal action, and if we can achieve that goal, all donations will be refunded.
This web site is supported by the Neuroscience Graduate Students and the Carleton Graduate Students Association, who are fighting for our futures. After reading about our situation, we urge you to write to your MP, MPP and the president of Carleton University, Roseann O’Reilly Runte, about your concerns.