(Sudbury – May 20, 2020)
The Laurentian Senate adopted yesterday by majority vote two resolutions aiming at ensuring a future for the theatre and motion picture arts programs recently abandoned by Thorneloe University on April 23, 2020. Thorneloe University is the federated university of Laurentian that had announced the shutdown of the fine arts programs catering primarily to Anglophone and Indigenous students.
One of the resolutions reaffirmed that, under the Laurentian University Act (1960), the institution’s senate has the sole jurisdiction over programs. Both programs had been approved to continue until 2026 after proper evaluation in May 2019.
There are 54 full-time students in the programs, while hundreds of others (from faculties of Management, Health, etc.) need these courses as electives. The programs are run by two full-time professors as well as nine part-time instructors. From 2015 to 2019, 72 productions in Greater Sudbury contributed $105 million and 2,360 jobs to the local economy. In 2019, 343 productions across Ontario represented $3.2 billion and 56,050 jobs.
A petition launched last week calling upon Laurentian president Robert Haché and the Board of Governors to intervene to save the programs has already been signed by over 1,100 students, faculty, alumni, artists, and community members.
The faculty association is a partner in a community campaign to save the programs.