Securing Laurentian’s future requires government funding
- On February 1, 2021, Laurentian University filed for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), federal legislation designed to guide private-sector companies through insolvency.
- Laurentian is a public institution, not a private sector corporation.
- The costly court proceedings the university administration has started are specifically designed for private companies and it is entirely unprecedented and inappropriate for a public university to take these steps.
- Laurentian University is not the first public university to experience financial distress. But, it is the first public university to experience financial distress and not receive financial assistance from the Ontario government.
- Ross Romano knew about Laurentian’s difficulties for at least six months, more than enough time to provide the funding needed to avoid this crisis.
- As a public university, Ross Romano and the provincial government have a responsibility to provide Laurentian with the operating funding needed to secure the institution’s future.
Laurentian and the importance of well-funded postsecondary institutions in Northern Ontario
- It is Ross Romano’s responsibility to ensure public universities and colleges—like Laurentian, Algoma, Nipissing, Lakehead, Cambrian, Boreal, Sault College—are properly funded.
- Laurentian is a unique public institution with a tri-cultural mandate to support French, English, and Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario.
- The Indigenous programming Laurentian offers is vital for students and is part of our collective commitment to reconciliation.
- Laurentian is the only university offering francophone programs in Northern Ontario.
- Many of Laurentian’s Indigenous and francophone programs may be lost as a result of this government’s inaction.
- Laurentian University is educating future generations who will stay and contribute directly to our communities — 65% of Laurentian alumni reside in Northern Ontario after graduation and 52 per cent of students who attend Laurentian are the first in their families to pursue a postsecondary education.
- Minister Romano’s refusal to take action and invest in the future of Laurentian University threatens the future of postsecondary education in Northern Ontario.
Students, faculty, and staff should not have to pay the price
- Students, faculty, and staff should not have to pay the price for the poor governance practices of an underfunded public institution. Faculty and students are Laurentian’s assets, not its liabilities.
- This government’s inaction poses a direct threat to jobs and the ability for students to graduate from their programs of choice.
- Students choose Laurentian because of its tri-cultural mandate, unique programming, and small class sizes. By not intervening, the government is undermining what makes Laurentian special and why so many students choose to study there.
- By stepping in now, Ross Romano can save hundreds of jobs, important research projects, and dozens of university programs that are currently on the chopping block.
Bad governance is only part of the problem
- A lack of transparent and accountable institutional governance has compounded the problems of underfunding at Laurentian.
- The university administration must be held to account, but first the provincial government must step in to provide the funding needed to secure the short and long-term future of Laurentian University.
- The provincial government appoints five members to Laurentian’s Board of Governors who should have been providing oversight and good governance. Instead, they joined with the senior administration and other Board members to make irresponsible financial decisions.
- If they don’t resign on their own, Ross Romano should have them removed.
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