Conestoga College criticized for international student enrollment, board apologizes for offensive comments made by president

Controversy at Conestoga College this week, with local officials and neighbouring administrations criticizing the school for their number of enrolled international students.

Region of Waterloo Coun. Michael Harris took to social media earlier this week recounting a conversation he had with one man who lives with 13 other people in the Doon area because of a lack of housing options for students.

Harris said infrastructure is not currently in place to support the number of international students being brought into the community.

“We have to provide that infrastructure,” said Harris. “Local taxpayers are footing the bill for the social services expected to be here when they come, including housing.”

Harris also condemned the landlords who are financially benefitting from putting students in these situations.

“I hope that there’s never a fire in one of these houses,” said Harris. “What they’re doing is wrong, and they should be ashamed of themselves frankly.”

Now, the president of Sault College, David Orazietti, is calling on the Ontario Auditor General to open an official investigation into the international student enrollment of Conestoga College.

Just a few days ago, Conestoga College President John Tibbits used derogatory terms when referring to Orazietti while defending his institution’s track record with international student enrollment.

Conestoga’s Board of Governors said they are concerned about the remarks Tibbits made earlier this week, adding that Tibbits ‘regrets making those comments’ and ‘apologizes’.

The matter is being reviewed internally.

Conestoga College currently has a reported 30,000 international students enrolled across their eight campuses. 

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