On Friday, April 30th, join us at the ‘rally on wheels’ in your city or participate online to protest the decimation of Laurentian University, the chronic underfunding of post-secondary education, and the political interference by Premier Ford and his government, which has failed to provide emergency funding to Laurentian or to stop the CCAA process—once again putting profit over people in this province. Help us to send a strong message to governments across Canada and university administrators everywhere that university communities will not accept what is happening at Laurentian and are joining together within and across campuses to fight ongoing attacks on our universities and our communities.
WHAT: Rally on Wheels! (a COVID-safe protest from your car, bike, or scooter)
WHEN: Friday, April 30th, 11a.m.-12p.m. (with online programming beginning at 10a.m.)
WHERE: Multiple cities (currently Toronto, Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Sudbury) live-streamed via the Scholar Strike Canada site
WHO: All those angered by the recent decision to eliminate half of Laurentian University’s academic programs and fire one-third of Laurentian’s faculty and 41 of its staff
WHY: On April 30th at noon, many of those who have been terminated will officially lose their jobs.
HOW: Sign up here to join your city’s rally or get involved in the organizing. Details to come regarding each rally and how you can participate online.
On February 1st, Laurentian University declared insolvency after decades of underfunding and years of financial mismanagement by the University’s Board. The Board had concealed the nature and extent of the University’s financial situation from faculty and from established university accountability mechanisms. However, the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Ross Romano, knew months earlier and failed to act.
Instead of following the financial exigency procedures detailed in its collective agreements, the University chose to invoke the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), which initiated a secretive court-supervised insolvency process that was designed for private corporations and had never before been implemented at a public university. Through this insolvency process, the University cut half of its programs (58 of 107 undergraduate programs and 11 of 33 graduate programs), defederated from its affiliated institutions, and terminated one-third of its faculty and 41 staff (110 of 361 faculty members). Faculty have been denied the severance pay in their collective agreements and have had their pensions frozen. Many students have had their programs disappear mid-degree and have lost their supervisors and dissertation committees.
As part of the CCAA process, these programs were cut based on enrolment numbers and revenue generation, not their quality or broader significance. A disproportionate number of humanities programs, French-language programs, and programs in traditionally female-led areas were cut, and the long-standing Indigenous Studies program at Laurentian’s affiliated University of Sudbury was eliminated when Laurentian defederated. These programs were crucial to Laurentian’s groundbreaking tricultural mandate to provide ‘an outstanding university experience, in English and French, with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education’, as well as to its commitment to building Franco-Ontarien culture and its obligations under the TRC Calls to Action. Moreover, a bilingual university with a bilingual mandate cannot do without a French Studies department, not least when that department offered compulsory courses to many programs that were not eliminated. The elimination of programs such as Labour Studies, Environmental Science, the only French-language Midwifery program outside Quebec, and the Indigenous Studies program will further damage Laurentian’s deep ties to local, working class, Indigenous, and Northern communities. Nor were Laurentian’s Physics, Mathematics, Philosophy, and many Humanities programs spared. Further details on the cuts and their significance can be found here, here, and here.