President Dingwall Responds to W5 Segment

To the Cape Breton Community,

We are aware of the CTV W5 report that aired Saturday evening. Although we were initially told this program would outline both the benefits and challenges CBU has had with international students, the report focused heavily on challenges surrounding enrolment, housing, employment, transportation and classroom space. We welcomed the W5 team to our campus to share with them the ways in which we are addressing these challenges, unfortunately, much of this information did not air or was presented inaccurately.

For the last several months, CBU has been addressing these challenges head-on with a focus on housing. So, what is CBU currently doing to address housing?

  • The Housing Taskforce has met with private developers to explore on and off-campus housing options for students and has met with eight different developers.
  • More than 60 meetings have been held with various stakeholders including housing consultants, developers and government officials to discuss moving the Tartan Downs Project forward.
  • The Taskforce also continues to meet with all levels of government to advocate for more housing support.
  • Renovations to an existing residence space will result in more than 200 additional beds on campus and will allow us to remove the mandatory full meal plan for these units.
  • We are also exploring additional on-campus housing options.

We agree that the housing situation in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality needs to be addressed. Hopefully, the W5 segment draws attention to this issue and adds to the case we have been making for the last several years. We have promised to do more and to do better, and we have not, and will not, shy away from the work that needs to be done. We know these challenges are national, and many universities and communities across Canada are facing them as well, particularly smaller university communities.

We are disappointed in the way CTV’s W5 portrayed CBU and the implication that international students are mistreated. We were saddened to see the stories of the two students interviewed and have worked with both of them in the past to support them during their time at CBU. We know many students are thriving and are proud to be part of the CBU and Cape Breton communities. International students are enriching Cape Breton and bring valuable perspectives and contributions to our community.

We value academic integrity at CBU and have a number of mechanisms in place to ensure quality and high academic standards in all we do. We hope, and encourage, anyone who is concerned about academic integrity to follow the processes in place to report and address it.

CBU is fully committed to ensuring our students have an exceptional experience. We have always been solutions-oriented and future-focused and continue to be. As always, we will continue to update the community as additional progress is made.

If you have feedback or additional solutions, please email

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall