In the strongest possible terms, WLUFA condemns the ongoing inaction of the provincial government in its failure to intervene to stop the commercial bankruptcy process (the Companies’ Creditors Arrangements Act – CCAA) initiated by Laurentian University’s administration. WLUFA stands in solidarity with our colleagues at the Laurentian University Faculty Association / Association des professeures et professeurs de l’Université Laurentienne (LUFA/APPUL), with staff at Laurentian University, with the students of Laurentian University, and with the Laurentian community.
Laurentian is a unique northern institution with a tri-cultural mandate to support French, English and Indigenous communities. Laurentian serves as a cultural, educational and research hub for the Sudbury community. Laurentian, like other Ontario universities, is governed by a Senate and a Board of Governors. Where the Board has oversight over finances, a responsibility it apparently failed to exercise, the Senate has authority over programs, their creation and their termination. Collegial governance is the essence of university administration, not the decisions of mediators appointed as part of an insolvency process.
The decision to engage in the CCAA is extremely costly, as it was meant for private sector corporations. Normally discussions around restructuring an institution with such a public impact would require significant discussions with students, staff and faculty, as well as broader community consultations. The CCAA process is occurring behind closed doors and lacks transparency. Recently, the Ontario Court of Appeals even struck down an attempt to unseal documents that would guide the restructuring process and reveal why the government has not intervened to support a public institution.
It is imperative for the both the provincial and federal governments to immediately commit to providing long-term funding to Laurentian University to secure its future and prevent unnecessary job losses and cuts to academic and research programs. The Laurentian and Sudbury communities must be at the forefront of the process of rebuilding. They did not create this crisis – unaccountable financial administrators did – and they must not now have a solution forced on them. The secret restructuring process cannot be allowed to continue.
The Ontario public strongly opposes what the government is allowing to happen. An EKOS poll commissioned by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association (OCUFA) confirmed that “66% of Ontarians believe the Ford government should provide Laurentian University with additional funding to protect its bilingual and Indigenous programs.”
We call upon the provincial government to:
- Intervene to stop the commercial bankruptcy process
- Provide immediate and long-term funding for Laurentian to end its current insolvency filing and secure its future
For further reading, or to get involved in supporting the campaign:
- Write a letter to your local MPP in support of LUFA/APPUL
- Read OCUFA’s updates on the ongoing process at Laurentian University
- Follow Save Our Sudbury/Sauvons Sudbury on Facebook and Twitter