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Letter: Canadian Student-Athlete Association founder ‘outraged’ at Laurentian cuts

‘What is happening is almost incomprehensible, on so many levels’
2021 Ben Avery Building Laurentian University 1 Sized
The Ben Avery Building at Laurentian University. (File)

The following letter is an open letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

Mr. Ford, my name is Garrett Holmes. I am the founder of the Canadian Student-Athlete Association.
I am writing to you regarding the financial crisis that has devastated Laurentian University, a crisis which is a scathing indictment of your leadership, a complete betrayal of the trust voters put in you. 

What is happening at Laurentian shows a total disregard for the wellbeing of students (and by extension student-athletes), and a complete lack of understanding of their importance to the future wellbeing of this province and this country. 

Shame on you for allowing this to happen on your watch. Students and parents are outraged. They should be. I’m outraged even though I don’t attend Laurentian. 

As a student-athlete myself, I could not imagine dealing with the “double whammy” of having my courses cut, and having my athletic program cut (like what happened to the men’s and women’s swim teams today). 

Politicians such as yourself, university administrators, athletic administrators all keep saying they put the interests of student’s first. Clearly, they do not. None of what is happening at Laurentian is in the best interests of students or student athletes. 

What is happening is almost incomprehensible, on so many levels. Was over $80 million of taxpayer’s money given to Laurentian with no fiscal oversight by the government in place? How did it get to this? 

The people responsible for this mess are still collecting paycheques. How is that possible? 

I join OCUFA President Rahul Sapra, LUFA President Fabrice Colin, NDP Leader Andrea Howarth, and many more calling for the resignations of Laurentian University President Robert Hache, Vice-President Academic and Provost Marie-Josee Berger, Vice-President Administration Lorella Hayes, Board Chair Claude Lacroix, Registrar Serge Demers, and Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano for their roles in creating this financial crisis. 

I further call for the launch of a complete investigation into this crisis. Mishandling of public funds should not go unaccounted for. 

I also join Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas in asking the Ontario government to cancel the company creditor arrangement that Laurentian University has fallen into, and further ask that all related academic and athletic programs that have been cut be reinstated and all staff cuts be rescinded. 

Garrett Holmes
founder, The Canadian Student-Athlete Association.