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Sudbury's Laurentian University axes 58 undergrad, 11 grad programs

University employee 'gutted, sickened, distraught' as termination notices issued from financial restructuring
Laurentian University campus 1

Laurentian University announced April 12 that it will be axing 58 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs as it restructures amid insolvency.

Of those programs, 34 are English-language programs and 24 are French-language.

A full list of the programs that have been cut follow below.

That leaves the Sudbury university with 107 undergraduate programs and 33 graduate programs, the university said in a statement released Monday.

According to posts on the Save our Sudbury Facebook page, which is dedicated to opposing the restructuring at Laurentian, employees were let go Monday via group Zoom meetings.

Brett Buchanan, a professor in the School of Environment, said in a tweet that more than 100 people were let go at the university, including himself.

This is all I'll say for right now:

Today, after 15 years @LaurentianU, I was terminated along with 100+ colleagues and friends. I'm gutted, sickened, and distraught for them, and for our students. This was utterly avoidable, and financial insolvency was a choice that was made.

— Brett Buchanan (@BrettBuch) April 12, 2021
“We anticipate that approximately 10 per cent of undergraduate students (excluding those studying at the federated universities) will be affected in some way by these program adjustments,” said the press release.

“We further anticipate that 44 graduate students will be impacted by program closures.”

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For most students, particularly if they are close to completion, this will mean they will be able to complete their degree making use of all or parts of the modules in terminated programs, either through course substitutions at Laurentian or through letters of permission, the press release said.

No new students will be admitted to these programs. For a small number of students, Laurentian will assist them in transitioning to a related program or another institution, said the press release.

“I write to you today with important news on the future of academic programming at Laurentian University,” said an internal email from Laurentian president Robert Haché.

“Last week the Laurentian Academic Senate voted in support of a plan to close a number of programs which have had low or no enrolment over a number of years. The full list of those programs is included below.

“We want you to know that we have also undertaken a review with respect to all continuing programs, where you may see some changes to reflect a consolidation of sections or merger of similar courses within existing programs.

“These program changes, combined with the recently-announced termination of our agreements with the federated universities, will focus Laurentian’s academic offerings on those programs which are of higher demand. 

“This focus will also allow us to further align our financial resources to ensure that these programs are adequately supported. Our ongoing program offerings remain extensive, and reflect the breadth of academic pursuits that are available at Laurentian.

“We understand that this news will be difficult for those who are in programs affected by the closures, as well as programs that were administered by the Federated Universities.

“Although our Laurentian community is undergoing a tremendous amount of change, I want to assure you that students remain our first priority and that we continue to serve all our students, whether undergraduate or graduate, through our comprehensive suite of ongoing programs.”

List of discontinued English language programs:

Actuarial Science
BA 4 years Concurrent education (Primary-Junior)
BSc 4 years Concurrent education (Primary-Junior)
BFA – Music
BFA - Music Performance
Biomedical Physics
Civil Engineering (first 2 years)
Concurrent Education - Pro year (Primary-Junior)
Environmental Geoscience
Environmental Science
Environmental Studies
International Management
Labour Studies
Major Restoration Ecology
Modern Languages
Music Studies
Political Science
Radiation Therapy - Michener
Restoration Biology
Web Data Management
Workplace and Labour Studies

List of discontinued French language programs:

Droit et politique
Éducation – intermédiaire/supérieur
Études de l'environnement
Études françaises
Génie chimique
Génie mécanique
Génie minier
Littérature et culture francophone
Marketing (FR)
Nursing – Boreal
Outdoor Adventure Leadership (FR)
Planification financière
Promotion de la santé
Resources humaines
Sage femme
Science du language
Science économique
Science politique
List of discontinued graduate programs:

Maîtrise - Histoire – essai
Maîtrise - Histoire – thèse
Maîtrise - Sociologie – essai
Maîtrise - Sociologie – thèse
Masters - Experimental Psychology
Masters - History – essay
Masters - History – Thesis
Masters – Humanities
Masters – Physics
Masters - Sociology - essay
Masters - Sociology – thesis

Laurentian University faculty and staff who are being terminated due to restructuring at the university are learning their fate today.

Jean-Charles Cachon, secretary-treasurer of the Laurentian University Faculty Association, told in an email that professors are being summoned through the day in small groups to be told they’re losing their jobs.

“All I know so far is that several faculty of Arts departments are being closed, I already know about at least 10 Francophone faculty members who are fired,” said Cachon.

According to posts on the Save our Sudbury Facebook page, which is dedicated to opposing the restructuring at Laurentian, employees are being let go via group Zoom meetings.

Members of the group say among the programs being axed are political science and midwifery.

An email with details of the cuts was to be sent out at 2:30 p.m. today, said several members of the Save our Sudbury page.

Radio-Canada reports that it has learned that more than 60 programs will be cut.

The TFO site ONFR+ said teachers in the following programs have been affected: 

Economic science
Political Science (English and French)
Modern Languages
Philosophy (English and French)
History (French) 
Environment and sustainable development 
French studies 
Mathematics (English and French) 
Midwifery (English and French).
The restructuring is happening through the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) process as a result of Laurentian University’s announcement earlier this year that it is insolvent.

Also as part of the restructuring, LUFA members will vote to ratify a new contract tomorrow (April 13), a day after the termination notices are sent out. 

A condition of the university’s restructuring plan is that a new labour agreement must be in place.

Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas rose in the Ontario legislature to ask the Ford government to take action to save Laurentian University from the bankruptcy process and protect French University education.

“Today I want to ask this government one more time to cancel the company creditor arrangement that Laurentian University has fallen into,” she said.

“This process does one thing.  It determines how many cents on the dollar creditors will get, that’s it that’s all. 

“But the government can see that the assets of Laurentian University are way more than that.  It is the bilingual mandate, it is the three cultures, it is the oldest indigenous university program in Ontario. Can you not see what my community is losing because of your government’s inaction?

“Students are missing out on their education, having to switch schools, switch their major, switch their entire career path. People are losing their jobs, their paycheque in the middle of a pandemic, throwing more families into crisis.”