Update on the Battle to Save Theatre and Motion Picture Arts at Laurentian University

(Sudbury – June 17, 2020)

Thank you to everyone who signed our letter supporting Theatre and Motion Picture Arts at Thorneloe and Laurentian! You were one of more than 1,200 supporters who helped us focus attention on this situation and showed the strength of the community and the importance of these programs.

We want to update you on what we’ve been doing since you signed, including the unfortunate fact that – despite our victory at the Laurentian Senate – Laurentian still intends to cancel these programs, and some additional steps you can take to keep the pressure on the University.

First, two actions you can take to help the students and programs:

A group of students from Motion Picture Arts have set up a website and a petition asking the Minister of Colleges and Universities to intervene to ensure that Laurentian University fulfills its educational responsibilities. Please look at it here, and sign the petition. https://savemparts.wixsite.com/savemparts

The Laurentian Board of Governors is meeting on Friday, June 19, 2020 from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. This meeting is open to the public, so we encourage supporters to join the Zoom meeting and set your ‘profile picture’ to one of the images attached to this email. If the chat is active, we encourage you to ask questions about how the Board of Governors will support these important programs. This will show the Board the strength of the support for the students and programs and let them know that we’re paying attention to their decisions.

Zoom videoconferencing: https://laurentian.zoom.us/j/8501561095
Zoom teleconference: 1-647-558-0588 / Meeting ID: 850-156-1095

Next, here’s what has happened since we launched our appeal for support:

In May, a motion was brought to the Laurentian Senate, the main academic decision-making body of the university, stating that Thorneloe did not have authority to cancel academic programs. The Senate approved the motion, which means that the programs cannot be shut down until the proper process has been completed. This was a good first step, and we were pleased to see how many supporters attended this video-conference, most with some variant of the message “Save the Arts at Laurentian” as their image.

However, Thorneloe University put out a press release stating that nothing had changed, and they were still terminating the faculty and not offering the courses in the program. The Laurentian administration also began the process to formally shut down the two programs. So, we need to keep fighting to ask Laurentian to halt that process and fund the programs through the Faculty of Arts.

Meanwhile, the students whose programs were cut are being offered substitutions ranging from courses on different topics in other departments, to theatre courses in French from a different program, to courses at Canadore College, to courses which they’ve already taken. Not only do these courses not cover the material in the programs these students were enrolled in, these courses often are at very different levels from those they are replacing, or substitute practical training for academic and theoretical learning or vice versa. This shows how irreplaceable the programs are. As you can see on the website linked at the beginning of the email, the students are continuing to press the administration for better support, and we stand with them.

In closing, thank you again for your support for Theatre and Motion Picture Arts at Laurentian, and we’ll keep fighting!

The Laurentian and Thorneloe Arts Coalition