Canadian Association of Geographers'

Statement on the Cuts at Laurentian University

 

Monday, April 26, 2021

 

The CAG is deeply troubled to learn that Laurentian University is eliminating more than 60 programs as a means to deal with a fiscal situation that is evidently the result of poor fiscal management on the part of its senior administration and shortcomings in the university’s systems of governance and accountability.

Amongst the cuts are the Departments of Geography, Environmental Science and Environmental Studies. This affects hundreds of students who now find their programs of undergraduate or graduate study suspended. Many of these students are the first members of their families to pursue university study. In addition, dozens of faculty members, instructors, and administrative support staff are being summarily terminated from their employment after making substantial contributions, in some cases over several decades, to help Laurentian University fulfill its mission and strategic objectives.

We, at the Canadian Association of Geographers, find it profoundly short-sighted that the Board of Governors at Laurentian University would eliminate fields of study that are committed to helping prepare students to confront many of the pressing challenges of our time, including climate change and regional economic transformation in a changing global context. We are equally troubled that so many other fields of scholarly activity are among these drastic cuts, all to the detriment of current and future students at Laurentian University, and to the many communities that this institution serves. We note especially the university’s unique and important role in offering comprehensive post-secondary study for Indigenous, Francophone and Anglophone students in and beyond Greater Sudbury, and wish to express our most profound concern that this mission is under major threat in the wake of these unfortunate actions.

With our colleagues in Geography and the wider academic community, we urge the Ontario Provincial Government to commit to support the students, staff, and faculty of Laurentian University through this difficult transition, and to renew its commitment to provide comprehensive and accessible post-secondary education to communities throughout Northeastern Ontario.

 

- CAG Executive Committee

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