Yesterday, Laurentian University announced that as a result of on-going insolvency processes, 58 undergraduate programs and 11 graduate programs will be closed. As part of these closures, approximately 100 Laurentian professors were dismissed from their jobs, effective May 15. Additionally, on April 1, Laurentian unilaterally cancelled its federation agreements with Thorneloe University, Huntington University, and the University of Sudbury, placing those institutions in financial doubt, as they cannot issue degrees.
This terrible outcome for our colleagues at Laurentian, who are represented by the Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA/APPUL), was caused by a panoply of catastrophic errors, but chief among them are an unwillingness by the government of Ontario to properly fund universities and to backstop Laurentian during this crisis; the refusal of the Laurentian administration to take advantage of the financial exigency clause in the LUFA/APPUL collective agreement (which the faculty association urged them to use as early as 2017); and the financial sloppiness of a university that consistently proposed balanced budgets while in fact reporting annual losses for the bulk of the last decade.
FAUW stands in solidarity with our colleagues at Laurentian University and its federated institutions. We will continue to advocate for the provincial government to restore Laurentian to financial health and to establish a stable funding base for it and other Ontario universities. We call on universities, including our own, to confirm their support for their federated university colleges. We deplore the total inaction of the provincial government, particularly its Minister of Colleges, Training and Universities, Ross Romano, who has dodged his responsibility to manage this crisis since February.
We will discuss the Laurentian situation further at our general meeting on Friday, and consider a motion of solidarity with LUFA/APPUL at that meeting.