Sudbury·Audio

Laurentian University suspends admissions to 17 programs

Laurentian University in Sudbury has suspended admissions to 17 programs for this fall — and the university's faculty association plans to fight back.

Faculty association 'shocked,' seeking judicial review

Laurentian University has suspended admissions to a number of programs this fall, citing low enrolment. (Erik White/CBC )

Laurentian University in Sudbury has suspended admissions to 17 programs for this fall — and the university's faculty association plans to fight back.

The university says the decision is based on low enrolment numbers.

"It gets to the point where, if these programs are not appealing to the students, then you have to do things, you have to move to improve the program, change the program, or in this case to suspend admissions," said university president Robert Haché. 

The affected programs span 13 different disciplines, and include archaeology, anthropology, geography, modern languages and music, among others.

Haché says any students already enrolled will be able to complete their programs, and the course offerings will not be affected. 

Faculty association disputes legality 

The Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA) says it found out about the university's decision on July 30. 

"We were kind of shocked because we had had an exchange with the administration previously, in the spring, where they had told us that there was no substance to rumours that were circulating within the institution, about the possibility of cutting programs," said Jean-Charles Cachon, secretary and treasurer with LUFA. 

This is a first step towards the termination of programs.— Jean-Charles Cachon, Laurentian University Faculty Association

Cachon says the university cannot unilaterally decide to suspend programs, saying any academic decisions must be approved by the university's senate. 

The university says it is not suspending the programs, but rather suspending admissions for this year — with plans to reevaluate down the road.

Laurentian University President Robert Haché says enrolment numbers for the affected programs had been low for several years. (Supplied/Laurentian University)

"It is within the purview of the provost of the university to determine whether we admit students into a program in any given year," said Haché.

Cachon, however, says by suspending admissions, "the effect is the same."

"The loud and clear message is that no one in their right mind who were thinking of studying into one of these areas at Laurentian University is going to consider Laurentian as an option, following this decision," Cachon said.

"People can only make the interpretation that this is a first step towards the termination of programs." 

Jean-Charles Cachon is the secretary and treasurer of the Laurentian University Faculty Association. (Submitted by Jean-Charles Cachon)

Haché says the a decision has been made for the upcoming school year only, and "everything that happens after that is an ongoing conversation."

He also says suspending admissions to programs with low enrolment is normal practice, and has happened int he past. 

Cachon says LUFA, along with the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is seeking a judicial review of the university's decision. 

After several years of declining enrolment, Laurentian University has suspended admissions to 17 programs this fall. But the faculty association says the university doesn't have the authority to make that decision. We hear from both sides. 9:36

About the Author

Sarah MacMillan is a reporter with CBC Sudbury. She previously worked with CBC P.E.I. You can contact her at sarah.macmillan@cbc.ca

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