Faculty at Laurentian University say an announcement Tuesday by university administration that the suspension of new admissions to 17 programs remains in effect is “still illegal” under the Laurentian University Act.
Laurentian administration announced the cuts to what they said were low-enrolment programs back in July.
On Sept. 15, the Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA) brought forward a motion to Laurentian’s Senate in an attempt to reverse this decision.
The motion, which was eventually approved, said only the Senate — a governing body made up of faculty, students and senior administrators — has the power to make decisions as to whether or not an academic program, or admissions to an academic program, can be suspended.
It also said because the matter had not come before the full Senate, the decision was invalid, and instructed that admissions to all of the relevant programs be reinstituted.
LUFA also presented a legal opinion last week that Laurentian administration did not have the authority to suspend admissions to the program.
However, Laurentian put out a news release Tuesday that said a subcommittee of the Senate — the academic planning committee — met Friday on the matter.
The subcommittee said the suspension on new admissions will continue until it receives and considers responses from the affected units or departments on how to ensure the quality of those programs.
However, LUFA secretary-treasurer Jean-Charles Cachon said it’s LUFA’s opinion that the decision made Sept. 15 by the full Senate cannot be reversed by a Senate subcommittee.
“It’s basically contrary to the Laurentian University Act,” he said. “The subcommittee cannot change a Senate decision. They just can’t do that. It’s basically another manipulation by this small group of people who want to cut those programs, but it’s illegal.”
Asked how a Senate subcommittee could come to a different decision than the full Senate, Cachon said many of the members are those who are under the authority of administration, and contends “intimidation” was at play.
Cachon said he expects the full Senate to meet again on the matter soon. “In fact, some of my colleagues are talking about calling for a special meeting of the Senate to discuss this kind of behaviour,” he said.
LUFA had launched a judicial review of the situation, and after the Senate vote last week, Cachon told Sudbury.com they were planning to suspend the court proceedings.
“But now it might have to be revived because we still have illegal behaviour going on,” he said.