Laurentian University senators mull over plan for big changes at school

Members of the Laurentian University Senate are meeting behind closed doors today to assess the recommendations of a subcommittee on the elimination of certain programs at the school.

Meeting comes 5 days after Laurentian University's announcement to sever ties with its federated universities

Laurentian University is in creditor protection — and its Senators are currently going over a restructuring plan that aims to improve the school's financial situation. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Members of the Laurentian University Senate are meeting behind closed doors today to assess the recommendations of a subcommittee on the elimination of certain programs at the school.

It's part of the restructuring of the post-secondary institution, after it declared financial insolvency on Feb. 1.

Voting members of the Senate are hearing, for the first time ever, the recommendations made by the six-person subcommittee created eight days after Laurentian University declared its insolvency .

Its mission was to make recommendations regarding the elimination of programs, the reorganization of faculties and departments at Laurentian University as well as other changes related to the programs.

After a presentation of the recommendations to members of the Senate, they will have a three-hour break — still in camera — to assess them individually before the meeting resumes at around 1 p.m.

The meeting is expected to continue during the day, and as long as necessary, according to a message sent to voting members of the Senate.

The meeting comes five days after Laurentian University unveiled its intention to unilaterally sever ties with its federated universities — Huntington University, Thorneloe University and the University of Sudbury — on April 30. After this date, Laurentian will no longer recognize courses taken at the federated universities.

The announcement continues to raise concerns among students who take multiple courses at these three institutions, as they are currently unable to independently award degrees.

'I feel like I'm being abandoned': student

Katharine Champaigne is on her way to completing her third year in the gerontology program offered by Huntington University.

"I feel like I'm being abandoned by the administration [of Laurentian University]," she said.

Although Laurentian University is committed to offering students from the other three universities a place in a program similar or corresponding to Laurentian, Champaigne maintains there is no similar program. And if the Laurentian University federation is dissolved, she believes she will be forced to go to a different university to complete her studies.

It's the same story for Elora Conrad, who is enrolled in a minor in ancient studies offered by Thorneloe University. She has only one course left to obtain the 24 credits required.

"Really, I was insulted. You offer me lessons so that I can do a minor that you promised me that I could do, and you tell me, at the last minute, 'you are no longer able because we are ending the federation.' If I had known that two months ago, I would have taken my last class this semester," Conrad said.

Thorneloe University has previously signaled that it will challenge Laurentian University's decision in court .

The community group Save Our Sudbury, which is campaigning against the anticipated cuts at Laurentian University, organized a demonstration Tuesday morning at Sudbury's Bridge of Nations.

With files from Radio-Canada


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