Laurentian University cuts over 60 academic programs due to insolvency issues

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SUDBURY, Ont. — Laurentian University says it has cut over 60 academic programs as the publicly funded institution struggles with insolvency.

A statement from the school on Monday says 58 undergraduate programs will be closed. Laurentian said the cut programs have had "historically low enrolment."

"This will allow the University to restructure its operations, enabling a financially sustainable future," reads the statement.

It said that 34 of those programs are in English and 24 are in French. Laurentian also said 11 graduate programs will be closed.

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations said more than 80 faculty members had lost their jobs in the cuts. The organization also called for the resignation of provincial Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano.

"If Ross Romano had done his job, none of these cuts would have occurred,” said Rahul Sapra, the organization's president. “Romano and the Ford government knew about the depths of Laurentian’s financial difficulties for months, if not years."

The university estimated that about 10 per cent of undergraduate students will be affected by the cuts. It also said that 44 graduate students will be impacted by program closures.

"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," said the statement.

A total of 107 undergraduate programs will remain open at the university in Sudbury, Ont., and 33 graduate programs will stay open.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers called on the federal and provincial governments to help Laurentian University in a tweet.

"This is devastating. A multitude of programs are being cut (and others decimated) at a public institution. (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau), (Premier Doug Ford), When will you step in?"

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press