During yesterday’s OCADFA Board Meeting the following motion was passed calling for the resignations of Ross Romano, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, as well as Robert Haché, President of Laurentian University, along with his senior leadership team.
Whereas: The financial crisis facing Laurentian was created by the provincial government, which has chronically underfunded Ontario’s universities, cut and frozen tuition fees without providing equivalent public funding. The provincial government and the senior leadership of President Robert Haché’s administration at Laurentian have abandoned an important Northern Ontario university just when faculty, students and staff needed their support most.
Whereas: Minister Romano has repeatedly refused invitations to meet with representatives of OCUFA to discuss the situation at Laurentian and other challenges facing Ontario universities today.
Whereas: The Laurentian University administration chose to engage, with implicit approval from Minister Romano, in secretive, untransparent and inappropriate legal proceedings (using the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act – CCAA) that were imposed on faculty and staff without consultation.
Whereas: Laurentian faculty were also put in a position where they had little choice but to ratify changes to their collective agreement that will see salaries reduced, teaching loads increased, and forced furlough days. Due to use of the CCAA process, information about these changes was available to members less than 12 hours before they were required to vote to either accept concessions or risk having the university close completely.
Whereas: Amongst those who lost their jobs were 17 faculty members who chose retirement to ensure that as many of their colleagues as possible would keep their jobs.
BIRT: OCADFA, having lost confidence in the Minister’s commitment to the university sector, as well as LU President Robert Haché’s senior leadership team to lead the university through this crisis, calls for the resignation of the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Ross Romano, and President of Laurentian University, President Robert Haché, and his senior leadership team, in light of their catastrophic mishandling of the situation at LU.
On Monday, April 12 it was publicly revealed that 110 faculty members had lost their jobs and 69 programs (mostly in social sciences and humanities, leaving most STEM programs intact) have been cut at Laurentian University. These devastating cuts are the direct result of the negligence of both the Minister (who was aware of the financial challenges Laurentian was facing at least six months before they became public) and LUs senior administration. The Minister has chosen not to support Laurentian University and its students, faculty, or community. Minister Romano has demonstrated the same resistance to consultation, transparency, and accountability as the Laurentian U administration throughout this debacle. Romano has made numerous announcements regarding the postsecondary education sector without consulting faculty, academic librarians, staff, or students. The above constitute an egregious mishandling of the situation at LU by both the Minister and senior administrators at the university.