The Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada (ALECC) views the cuts made to Laurentian University faculty and programs as appalling. They undermine Laurentian University’s longstanding contributions to environmental and social justice work in Sudbury, across Ontario, and throughout Canada. We view the elimination of the following as especially egregious losses: the School of the Environment, the School of Midwifery, Indigenous studies, Francophone studies, and most of the humanities and social sciences. Local and global ecosystems are fundamentally connected to health care, Indigenous leadership, and humanist as well as scientific knowledge. These programs, which are nationally and internationally known, have been built by dedicated scholars, students, and community members. The decades of outstanding work done in these programs is being tossed aside by expedient budget cuts.
These cuts, which constitute one-third of Laurentian’s educational programs, should have been avoided. The Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act should never be used for public education institutions. The Laurentian administration, together with an indifferent provincial government, has deeply undermined Laurentian University’s teaching and research mission. Most of all, in a time of pandemics, global heating, and the urgent work of reconciliation, Laurentian has chosen to take a massive step backwards. The gutting of Laurentian’s programs is devastating to the crucial environmental education and knowledge keeping work that had been a feature of the University and central to the Sudbury community.
These budget cuts – especially to environmental studies and the humanities – will have lasting impacts on people’s quality of life, the labour market, and the culture of communities in Sudbury and across the region. Education work is environmental justice work. We stand in solidarity with the faculty, students, and community members of Laurentian University in condemning this destruction of the University’s education objectives.
(April 16, 2021)