Five Free Things to do in Castlegar

Nancy Greene Park - Whitney Rothwell

It’s finally sunny out, time to get out and explore.


Recent Hiring at Selkirk College Sparks Online Petition

| by: Whitney Rothwell |

An informal group of Selkirk College faculty, alumni, retirees and community members started a petition this week to highlight their concern regarding the lack of diversity in senior management positions at the College.  

“People were really interested in hearing from candidates who understood rural community college challenges” – Angus Graeme

Posted online as a Google document, the petition, addressed to the Board of Governors states, “We the undersigned employees, students, alumni, and retirees of Selkirk College, and community members, are concerned about the lack of diversity in senior management positions at the College.”

According to the top signatory of the petition, Lori Barkley, Instructor of Anthropology, and Peace and Justice Studies, the petition was started, ”when it came out just last week that the third VP hired was also what seems to be presenting as another white middle aged male”.

Barkley sees the petition as an opportunity to educate the administration in these issues and says, “I think the hope is that we would get an employment equity policy and that that policy would be followed in future hirings”. 

Angus Graeme, President and CEO of Selkirk College, comments, “It’s an evolving make-up of the team, and it’s not the easiest thing to go out and make sure all of those things (diversity concerns) are looked at when you’re trying to hire the best possible candidate with the best fit for the institution.” Graeme adds that the recent hiring committee, made up of employees and representatives from all three faculty unions, was gender-balanced and discussed diversity as a criteria for their search. 

“As employees, women and other minorities look and say ‘okay, clearly there’s no space for us in the upper echelons’.“ – Lori Barkley

“But, people were really interested in hearing from candidates who understood rural community college challenges, understood some of our challenges in the West Kootenay Boundary and were a good fit with the culture of the institution.” says Graeme.

When asked for his opinion on an employment equity policy based on hiring diversely when choosing between equally qualified candidates, Graeme stated that he thinks it’s a great idea. He notes that Selkirk is currently editing a final draft of an inclusivity policy and an inclusivity plan that includes intercultural competency training for all employees, changing demographics in instruction and support staff, and other equity strategies.

Barkley highlights the importance of having a diverse senior management, “As employees, women and other minorities look and say ‘okay, clearly there’s no space for us in the upper echelons’. Yes there are some deans, there are a few deans who are women, but the message is […] that your perspectives aren’t important enough to be at this level. You’re really counting on white males to step outside of their privilege to represent you.”

She also points out that, “People don’t often discriminate intentionally, they just don’t think about it”. Petition signatories hope that raising this issue at Tuesday’s board meeting will show the importance of considering how a lack of diversity can be perceived by faculty, students and the community.


Outside Looking In – Photo Collection by Spencer Legebokoff

Peek - Spencer Legebokoff

“Our environment shapes us, whether we like it or not.” – Spencer Legebokoff


Call For Artists – Selkirk’s First Mural

This spring semester, students will be creating a large mural art installation for display in The Pit. The theme is “A Healthy Campus Experience” and will be Selkirk College’s first mural.

The project is being led by Human Services instructor, Matty Hillman. Matty has been painting public art and facilitating community mural projects for the last decade in the West Kootenays and on Vancouver Island. He has had pieces on display in group and independent shows as well as completed commissioned murals for several local businesses such as Cake Betty and Whitewater Ski Resort. He will also be contributing to this year’s mural festival in Nelson. Matty’s website can be found here.

Designing and painting the Selkirk mural will take place at the Castlegar Campus, during the week of June 19-22, 2018. There will be free food and a small honorarium for students who participate.

For students who would like to join in, art experience is an asset, but not necessary!

Contact Matty Hillman for more details on how to participate.


Beavers Help Clean Rivers and Mitigate Soil Loss

| Whitney Rothwell | Study finds Beavers could help clean polluted rivers.


Canadian Federation of Students Approves Motion to Expel BC Member Unions

| By: Whitney Rothwell |

On April 13th, 2018 the National Executive of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) voted unanimously to initiate the expulsion of BC students’ unions which are joint members of both the CFS and its BC provincial component, the British Columbia Federation of Students (BCFS). The motion will be added to the CFS national general meeting agenda in June and, if approved, will expel 120,000 individual students.

A letter to the Selkirk College Students’ Union (SCSU) sent on April 30th, 2018 from Coty Zachariah, CFS Chairperson, Charlotte Kiddel, CFS Deputy Chairperson, and Peyton Veitch Treasurer of the CFS, states that the motion comes after nine of the twelve joint member students’ unions have petitioned for the CFS to hold referendums deciding whether to stay or leave the organization.

Many students’ unions in BC, including the SCSU, remit their CFS and BCFS membership dues to the BCFS, where they are divided and the appropriate portion is remitted to the CFS. For a number of historical reasons, BCFS continues to withhold the CFS membership fees of local associations in BC while the CFS is withholding BC monies owed to the BCFS. CFS considers the membership dues of the BC member students’ unions as outstanding, so the Ottawa-based group asserts that allowing students to vote on decertification would violate CFS bylaws. The SCSU considers its membership dues to the CFS to be paid up-to-date.

Tensions between CFS and BCFS have been mounting for some time, and the letter also cites a significant distraction from the ability for all involved to serve their core mandates as a consideration in the motion.

SCSU is currently a member of both CFS and the BCFS and therefore will be expelled from the CFS if the motion is approved in June.


Call For Submissions – Kootenay Queer and Trans Art Show 2018

A group of local artists are working together to organize a juried art exhibition in Nelson, BC which will coincide with Kootenay Pride Week, August 27th to September 3rd 2018. The group is seeking submissions from LGBTQ+ artists of all art and craft disciplines for the selected group exhibition.

“We see this first show as a starting point and as an opportunity to highlight the work of queer and trans/gender non-conforming artists living in the Kootenays.” says art show organizer, Samonte Cruz.

“It is our hope that it can grow into an annual arts festival showcasing local LGBTQ+ artists, and featuring community arts workshops, artist talks, live performances, and an arts & crafts market.” Cruz adds.

The Application Deadline is May 26th 2018 at 5pm, PST

To apply or volunteer, visit the call for submissions here.


Canadian Federation of Students meeting unproductive, Selkirk membership conflict continues

| By: Cohen Dyer |

Despite a motion from the Selkirk College Students’ Union (SCSU) asking to terminate its membership, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) voted to continue fighting to keep Selkirk College students at its most recent meeting. On November 17 to 20, delegates from dozens of students’ unions across Canada met in Gatineau, Quebec to discuss the future and the work of the CFS at its National General Meeting. The SCSU submitted two motions, one to have its membership in the Ottawa-based group terminated, and one to compel the CFS to release a detailed report of secret bank accounts.

“I would characterize the CFS as a very frustrating meeting that accomplished very little,” said Shaun Wiskar, Vice-President Student Affiars for the University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU). “The meeting opened with a declaration of this being the “New CFS” and that nationally they had come to an impasse with the British Columbia Component. However, when Selkirk asked to leave, they were told they failed to follow proper procedure.”

Students at numerous colleges and universities in British Columbia have been trying to leave the CFS for at least a year. The August 2017 Executive Committee report of the British Columbia Federation of Students includes a long description of this conflict, and says that eight students’ unions in BC have submitted petitions to leave the CFS. Selkirk College students have submitted two petitions to the CFS asking for a vote to leave the group, one in 2016 and one in November 2017, although the CFS has not held a referendum because it claims the SCSU hasn’t remitted its fees.

The National General Meeting seemed to get through little business other than voting down the SCSU’s proposals. Any motions not resolved at a CFS meeting are forwarded to the next meeting held six months later. A few motions will be on the agenda for the first 2018 meeting that were originally served in 2016 and have yet to be dealt with.

“I heard the phrases ‘point of order’, ‘privilege’ and  ‘information’ an extensive amount, this can throw off the meeting in its tracks and can make the NGM a long painful process,” said Derrick Gagnon, also of URSU. “Some of the points brought forward were valid but others seemed like tactic to use up the little time we have in closing plenary. CFS now has motions on the agenda that have remained on for the last two years, again not enough time to get to these motions. These motions will be on the agenda for next years June SGM.”

Representatives from the SCSU who attended the NGM say the meeting failed to achieve its goals. The agenda for the meeting shows that over the four day conference, there were only a small handful of workshops. None of the workshops focused on post-secondary education at the federal level.

“I would say the meeting was a categorical failure for the Canadian Federation of Students,” said Santanna Hernandez, Chairperson of the Selkirk College Students’ Union. “Their (CFS) business is so backlogged that motions submitted in 2016 were still not dealt with at this meeting, and will have to wait until at least 2018.”

“I met with most of the delegates from Selkirk and they were all very professional,” added URSU’s Wiskar. “We formed a close enough bond with them that I created a snapchat filter in solidarity with them. The #imwithselkirk was the UofR’s response to the lack of action by the national body.”


RDCK calls for recognition of Sinixt nation

| By Cohen Dyer |

On November 16, the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) passed a resolution to call on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canad asking the federal government to reconsider the declaration that the Sinixt people are extinct.

“The Arrow Lakes Band (also known as the Sinixt) was a recognized Indian Band in Canada until 1953, when the last living registered member died,” said Stephanie Palma, Media Relations for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. “Because there were no living members, the Band was removed from the band list administered by Canada under the Indian Act and the former reserve land was returned to the Province of British Columbia. At the time research and due diligence was undertaken to ensure there were no remaining living members of the Band.”

The Sinixt First Nation, currently lead from the part of its territory that lays south of the Canada-USA boarder, has challenged the claim that it or its people are extinct. On March 27 of this year, Canadian courts ruled in favour of Sinixt citizen Rick DeSautel in a dispute about the right to hunt in Canada.

“The RDCK Board of Directors feels that the federal government made an error in declaring the Arrow Lakes/Sinixt First Nation extinct in 1956, and urges the government to investigate this possibility,” said Stuart Horn, Chief Administrative Officer for the RDCK. “If it was in fact an error, the federal government must begin the process to establish what lands are Sinixt traditional territory.”

The Sinixt First Nation did not respond to request for comment.

Students’ Union general meeting scheduled for November 30

| B:y Cohen Dyer |

The Selkirk College Students’ Union has scheduled a general meeting for November 30, say Students’ Union representatives. Notice for the meeting is posted on all campuses. The meeting was scheduled by the Students’ Union’s Executive Committee to be prior to the exam period to increase attendance. While the meeting is scheduled to take place on the Castlegar campus, students from other campuses are eligible to receive travel assistance by contacting the Students’ Union.

The meeting will require a minimum number of participants in order to pass motions. One motion is being presented by the Executive Committee for funding outreach projects. Whether the meeting has high enough attendance to deal with this business or not, the attendees will still hear from Students’ Union Executive Committee members about the organisation’s finances and work over the previous year.

The meeting will include free food for all attendees.