A group representing Francophone professors at Laurentian University said French-language programming at the university should be protected as the school restructures, not least because LU brings in millions in extra funding because of these programs.
The Regroupement des professeures francophones (RPF) is an independent group which represents Laurentian University’s 130 Francophone and Francophile professors and sessional teachers.
It aims to voice its members’ opinions on matters regarding Francophone affairs.
The RPF contends that Laurentian’s French-language programs are not a financial strain on the university.
On the contrary, the group argued recently, they allow it to benefit from a major yearly grant — of $12 million dollars — from Canadian Heritage’s Official Languages in Education program, which should be used specifically for their support, the group said.
Francophone professors are worried that given LU’s financial challenges their programming may fall victim to cost-cutting and restructuring efforts.
Since programs with lower average class sizes have been targeted publicly for elimination, and that French-language programs are naturally smaller given the language’s minority status, the RPF, in solidarity with the overall approach taken by the Laurentian University Faculty Association, intends to defend the preservation and strengthening of French-language university programming in Sudbury.
The RPF laid out its point of view in a press release:
- Young Franco-Ontarians, immersion students and newcomers to Canada deserve a complete range of university programs in French in Northern Ontario;
- French-language programs at Laurentian have been a key driver in the economic, social and cultural development of the North’s minority Francophone community, and this for the last 60 years;
- Since 1913, there has been French-language university-level teaching in Sudbury, which has played a key role in the cultural sphere. The presence of dynamic French-language programs will continue to be crucial in the future, notably for the success of the Place des Arts, which has received funding from the three levels of government in order to contribute to the continued vitality of the North’s Francophones.
- Laurentian’s French-language programs are not a financial strain on the university. On the contrary, they allow it to benefit from a major yearly grant of $12 million from Canadian Heritage’s Official Languages in Education programme, which should be used specifically for their support.
- Contrary to popular belief, enrolment in the Laurentian Federation’s French-language programs are higher than ever. Now is not the time to cut, but rather the time to build further.
- A more transparent and decentralised governance structure in which French-language university programs can be run by Francophones, for Francophones, will allow us all to avoid a repeat of the deplorable situation in which Laurentian University is presently mired. It will favour the development and the perpetuation not only of French-language university programming, but of the North’s Francophone community as a whole.