GREATER SUDBURY, November 17, 2022 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Following the release of the Auditor General of Ontario’s Special Report on Laurentian University, the Laurentian University Faculty Association is demanding that the university’s senior leadership prioritize making the institution’s governance structures more transparent, accountable, and democratic. As the Auditor General’s investigation has revealed, years of bad governance and secretive decision-making created the financial crisis that devastated Laurentian and the lives of so many who worked and studied at the institution.
“The Auditor General’s report clearly shows that this crisis could have—and should have been avoided,” said LUFA President Fabrice Colin. “There is simply no excuse for the Laurentian administration’s dubious and irresponsible decision-making, which has led to needless cuts and suffering. Students, staff, and faculty deserve better. We expect the Laurentian University administration to act swiftly on the recommendations in this report and ensure that faculty are meaningfully involved in building a more inclusive and democratic shared governance structure at Laurentian.”
The report found that the Laurentian University administration created the financial chaos that destabilized the institution and then ignored other, better suited options for addressing the crisis. Instead, the Auditor General found that a lack of proper governance oversight and transparency allowed senior administrators to do an end-run around the institution’s democratic structures and use the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) to fundamentally dismantle the university by cutting faculty positions and programs.
Further, the report concludes that the Ontario government did not intervene in a timely manner to help Laurentian correct its financial situation. For years, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities should have been aware of the university’s financial difficulties and had ample opportunity to take action. Ultimately, the Ford government failed to take the proactive initiative needed to save Laurentian from collapsing inwards.
“The Auditor General’s report is a complete validation of the Laurentian University Faculty Association’s positions on these issues,” said Colin. “It is shameful that the university administration has spent so much effort ignoring, scapegoating, and gaslighting faculty throughout this process. The Laurentian administration must heed this report and fundamentally change its culture to work with faculty to build a more transparent, democratic, and inclusive model of shared governance.”
This has been a dark chapter in Laurentian’s history, manufactured by the ill-considered decisions of a secretive university administration and made possible by a government that refused to prioritize university education in Northern Ontario. This report does little on its own to mend the damage that has been done, but it should act as a clear condemnation of the practices that drove Laurentian University to this point of crisis and a call to action for the university administration to prioritize making the institution’s governance structures more transparent, accountable, and democratic.
LUFA was founded in 1979 and, prior to the CCAA proceedings, represented over 400 full- time and 300 part-time professors at Laurentian University, the University of Sudbury, Huntington University, and Thorneloe University. Today, LUFA represents roughly 250 full- time and 200 part-time professors at Laurentian University. For more information about LUFA, visit: www.lufappul.ca.
For questions or to arrange an interview, please contact: Fabrice Colin at [email protected] or 705.698.6763