Cape Breton University students frustrated lectures will remain at movie theatre for up to 3 years


Some post-baccalaureate students at Cape Breton University are frustrated that their classes will remain at the Cineplex location in Sydney, N.S., approximately nine kilometres from the university campus. 

University officials say the situation is temporary, but it could take up to three years to get a location built on campus.

This is not welcome news for some.

Amandip Bhooi left her family at home in India to study at CBU and get her post-baccalaureate diploma in business management.

Bhooi looked up photos of the university campus online before moving to Glace Bay, N.S.

She was not expecting to attend her lectures in a movie theatre.

“I had almost packed my bags and I was back to India, trust me, many times,” she said. 

Amandip Bhooi says she never would have attended Cape Breton University had she known her classes would be held in a movie theatre. (Emily Latimer/CBC)

Three out of four of Bhooi’s classes are at the cinema, which adds about 30 minutes to her commute via bus from Glace Bay. She chose the location for its proximity to the university campus. 

“Had I known it, I wouldn’t have come here,” she said.

Bhooi said the theatre environment is not conducive to learning. 

She wants to be able to visit the library in between classes, but the bus schedule doesn’t leave enough time to commute. 

“That’s the most difficult part for me because it’s a business management course,” she said. “Most of the studies are research based. It’s really frustrating.”

Students question enrolment

For some students, classes being held at the movie theatre is further evidence that the university doesn’t have room for them. 

Mansi Shah thinks the university has allowed more international students to enrol than it can adequately serve.

Out of 5,901 students registered this fall, 3,982 are international students, according to the university.

Both students are frustrated they pay campus fees, but are rarely on campus. 

“We are not able to attain any of the services that they are giving us on campus,” Shah said.

Bhooi said the campus has perks the theatre does not, like drinking fountains and quiet study spaces. 

Students wait in the lobby of the Cineplex theatre in Sydney, N.S. One student says the environment is not conducive to learning. (Emily Latimer/CBC)

Some of Shah’s friends are trying to commute between Cineplex and the university campus.

“They are literally losing it because it is becoming really difficult for them to hop two places in a day,” Shah said. “CBU is not that close. We cannot just walk.”

A spokesperson for the university declined an interview request and sent a written statement.

“We are committed to providing the same exceptional student experience at this location as we do on campus,” CBU spokesperson Lenore Parsley wrote in an email.



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