Weekly update on campaign to save Laurentian University

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Political action

The Save Our Sudbury community group of faculty, students, labour unions, and community members held a hugely successful car rally. Over 100 participants came together in spite of rain and snow to demand the province provide funding. You can watch pre-recorded speeches from students, faculty, politicians, and union leaders speaking about why Laurentian is important to the Sudbury community and to them personally on the SOS Facebook page. Media coverage of the event was extensive: CTV news, Sudbury Star, ICI radio-canada, and Sudbury.com.

The Nipissing University Faculty Association (NUFA) called for the province to end the CCAA process at Laurentian University and provide adequate and sustained funding to ensure the continued viability of the institution. The North Bay Nugget covered the NUFA statement. NUFA stepped up its support for LUFA to another level by organizing a solidarity phone zap. Faculty from Nipissing, Lakehead, and Toronto made calls to four Progressive Conservative cabinet Ministers.

On April 1, the Ottawa region/East Ontario faculty associations held a phone zap targeting two Ontario Ministers (Ross Romano and Caroline Mulroney) and two federal Members of Parliament. Some participants managed to get Romano’s staff on the phone to press directly for immediate funding.

Faculty association presidents from the Golden Horseshoe area released an open letter directed at Minister Romano, with five demands: substitute meaningful consultation with stakeholders for the flawed Senate process, share all key documents with the parties, provide increased funding to LU, support the education completion of the students at the federated colleges, and make a clear legal commitment to LU’s tri-cultural mandate.

You can read this letter, other statements of support, and find phone zap templates at www.northernsolidarity.ca.

Federated universities agreement cancellation – media, legal and direct action

In response to the announcement that Laurentian University was attempting to unilaterally cancel the federated university agreements, Save Our Sudbury held an emergency town hall on Good Friday, bringing together over 100 faculty, staff, and students. The anger and distress in the meeting was palpable, and the participants overwhelmingly voted to demand the resignation of President Robert Haché and the Board of Governors. The Sudbury Star covered SOS’s media release here and Sudbury.com covered the town hall.

With the assistance of OCUFA, the Laurentian University Faculty Association issued an immediate release condemning the unilateral action; President Fabrice Colin was interviewed by CTV news.

Thorneloe University responded by announcing they will be seeking a remedy in court to block the action; you can read Thoneloe’s release here.

Related issues in the news

Francophone groups at both Laurentian University and its affiliate the University of Sudbury are concerned about the impact that the restructuring process will have on Francophone programs, faculty, and students. Several different initiatives are underway on these campuses to secure Francophone postsecondary education in Sudbury. At Laurentian, a group of faculty are demanding that Francophone programs be granted autonomy (read the radio-canada coverage here). The U of Sudbury board has voted to become a secular Francophone university.

Please regularly check our website and http://www.northernsolidarity.ca as we are adding new resources to our toolkit on a regular basis.

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