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Laurentian president stepping down as university nears end of insolvency process


Laurentian University president Dr. Robert Haché is retiring, the school announced Thursday evening.

Haché and provost Dr. Marie-Josée Berger will formally leave their posts when the university emerges from the insolvency process, expected to be in the fall.

"An interim president and provost will be appointed, and the formal search process to identify a permanent president, in consultation with the Laurentian community, will be commenced," the university said in a news release.

The school also announced it had completed its plan of arrangement, a major milestone as it seeks to emerge from proceedings under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

That plan is expected to be voted on by creditors Sept. 14, and if approved, LU would emerge from the CCAA process on Oct. 5.

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Haché has come under intense criticism for declaring insolvency in February 2021, which led to major program and staffing cuts. Years of expensive capital spending and low enrolment in some programs came to a head when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the university suffered a massive drop in revenue.

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk concluded in her audit that Haché chose to declare insolvency even though the province was offering money to keep operating.

More recently, unions at LU have been calling on Haché to step down.

Jeff Bangs, chair of LU's board of governors, thanked Haché and Berger for their service to the school.

“Their guidance and resolve have been indispensable during the most challenging period in our history,” Bangs is quoted as saying in the release.

“At this pivotal time for Laurentian University, I leave my leadership role with energy and optimism for the future,” Haché said in the release.

“I’ve approached my role with clear priorities: to learn from the Laurentian community, to successfully complete the CCAA restructuring process, and to put our university on track for an academically rich, culturally diverse, and fiscally sound future. I’m humbled to have had the opportunity to serve this great university.”

“While we still have far to go, our board feels renewed optimism as we work with our community and government partners to protect and advance Laurentian’s unique mission as a bilingual and tricultural institution for Ontario’s north,” said Bangs. Top Stories

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