As a new academic year approaches, Laurentian faculty and staff are once again calling for senior administrators at the university to be fired.
This includes President Robert Haché, Vice-President Academic and Provost Marie-Josée Berger, and Registrar Serge Demers.
The Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA), Laurentian University Staff Union (LUSU), and Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) sent out a press release July 18.
“Our entire membership has lost confidence in these individuals,” said LUFA President Fabrice Colin, in the press release.
“For them to continue would jeopardize the credibility of the institution. There need to be consequences for usurping our collective agreement and collegial process.”
Laurentian continues to undergo court-supervised restructuring after declaring insolvency in February 2021, and filing for creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (or CCAA).
The university is at the point of filing a plan of arrangement in which it will outline a roadmap to pay out its creditors, something which is supposed to happen in the near future.
“The Auditor General’s preliminary report on Laurentian was clear, it was not faculty who caused the crisis, it was bad management decisions,” said OCUFA President Sue Wurtele.
“The provincial government also has to answer for its part in this crisis. They could have stopped this process from going forward but intervened too late after nearly 200 faculty and staff positions were lost, 69 programs cancelled, and countless lives ruined. The community deserves an explanation for why they allowed this to happen.”
LUFA, LUSU, and OCUFA support a change in culture at Laurentian and welcome the repeated commitment of board of governors chair Jeff Bangs to work collaboratively to re-establish trust, and to never allow mistakes of the past to be repeated, the press release said.
The university leadership must once again demonstrate their commitment to open and transparent decision-making in partnership with faculty, staff, students, and the Sudbury community by adhering to the new collective agreement and maintaining its faculty complement, said the unions.
“We are ready to move forward, and we hope we can rely on a new, senior leadership team to demonstrate their commitment to open and transparent decision-making in partnership with faculty, staff, students, and the Sudbury community,” said LUSU president Tom Fenske.
“Our goal has always been to emerge from the CCAA process with a plan that rebuilds the teaching and research capacity of Laurentian University through a robust faculty and staff complement and provides the foundation for a healthy working and learning environment for faculty, staff, and students,” said Colin.
“To create a strong community and strong campus, we must ensure students are getting the high-quality education they deserve which faculty and staff can provide, but not if they are exhausted and overworked. The plan of arrangement provides that opportunity.”
When released, Laurentian’s draft plan of arrangement should outline how the institution will emerge from the restructuring undertaken through the CCAA process and repay its creditors. It must be approved through a vote by the creditors.