Laurentian University has issued a request for proposals from firms to undertake a review of its governance and operations as it continues through its insolvency restructuring.
The university has set an Aug. 31 deadline for companies bidding on any one of, or a combination of the following: a governance review of Laurentian’s senate; a governance review of Laurentian’s board of governors; and an operational review.
Laurentian president Robert Haché told those attending Laurentian’s May Senate meeting that the university is committed to examining the “how do we work,” aspects of the school.
“How we are organized administratively and functionally,” he said. “Not to further downsize staff, but to position staff to best succeed in their work, and to engage stakeholders as we do that.”
Haché also addressed the need for a governance review in an affidavit filed before the courts in April.
“One of the commitments that will be undertaken by LU, which is embodied in the Term Sheets signed with each of LUFA and LUSU, is a thorough review of all operational and governance matters within the entire University in order to identify and implement best practices for the future,” he said, in the affidavit.
“To this end, LU will be engaging, through my office as President, an external advisor with sector expertise to undertake an extensive review of all areas. This process will include consultation with LU’s stakeholders and will be open and transparent.”
Laurentian announced Feb. 1 it is insolvent, and had filed for creditor protection under the Companies Creditors’ Arrangement Act (CCAA), a move that’s unprecedented in the post-secondary sector.
The university, which had $321.8 million in liabilities as of April 30, 2020, said it would have run out of cash to meet its payroll obligations by the end of February if it hadn’t secured a $25 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) loan through the insolvency process.
Laurentian has since secured another $10 million DIP loan.
Under the auspices of the CCAA, Laurentian is undergoing court-supervised restructuring. That includes massive cuts to its programs and employees, which were made public April 12, as well as the termination of the federation agreement.
Laurentian is currently in Phase 2 of its restructuring, which lasts until Aug. 31.
Phase 2 includes a review of its assets and real estate holdings to see if they can be monetized, as well as coming up with a plan to deal with its creditors.
Those creditors include Laurentian’s terminated employees. Laurentian will be in court Tuesday as it seeks approval for a compensation methodology for former employees and retirees who are due severance and other forms of payments.
The governance review, for which Laurentian has just issued an RFP, is part of Phase 3 of Laurentian’s insolvency restructuring, which will also include the implementation of the university’s new academic structure and paying out creditors.