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Laurentian University marks two years since significant layoffs

It was two years ago that close to 200 staff including tenured faculty at Greater Sudbury’s Laurentian University lost their jobs, as more than 60 programs were discontinued.

On April 12, 2021, 195 staff were informed via a prompt Zoom call that they no longer had jobs after the semester ended.

Two months prior, Laurentian had declared insolvency.

In November 2022, the university exited insolvency, and with a new interim president, it’s been looking to rebuild.

Sheila Embleton, interim university president, says she acknowledges it was a painful time for many.

“I think we look back on that no matter where we are, I think more so in the Laurentian community but even outside people are looking that this was two years ago,” said Embleton.

Eduardo Galiano-Riveros worked in the physics department at Laurentian for 18 years, and said it was a painful day for his colleagues.

He told CTV News he has since been fortunate to find work at another university, but some of his colleagues are still out of work.

“Most of my former colleagues, in particular, those in the humanities and the social sciences, have had a much, much tougher time resuming or somehow re-establishing or recovering their career,” he said.

He is a member of the Terminated Faculty Committee, which consists of most of the employees who were let go.

Galiano-Riveros said the group is calling to be paid their full severances, of which he adds they haven’t received a penny.

He said the group also wants to see the programs and jobs reinstated.

“It’s going to take generations to rebuild what was once there, and in the end, the north loses, students lose, parents lose out, businesses lose out, society in the north loses out,” said Galiano-Riveros.

Additionally, he said there should be a public inquiry to address unanswered questions.

“We’re calling for a public inquiry into the whole story, the whole fiasco, to answer once and for all the big question a lot of us have which is ‘is criminal conduct involved here or not?’” said Galiano-Riveros.

Officials with the Terminated Faculty Committee said it will likely take generations for the school to rebuild, with the loss of faculty and programs.

“Normally when something is broken, you still have pieces you can pick up and attempt to somehow apoxy or glue together,” said Galiano-Riveros.

“But in this case you don’t have the pieces of a broken asset. The pieces are gone. The physics department is gone. The mathematics department is gone.”

Embleton told CTV News the goal is not to rebuild the university to what it once was – rather, to see what the community needs from the university and move forward. Top Stories

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