(Sudbury – December 17, 2020)
At a virtual meeting held on Friday afternoon, December 11, 2020, the Board of Governors (BOG) was challenged by the Laurentian University Faculty Association’s Vice-President, Dr. Robyn Gorham, to open itself to more collegial and transparent governance processes by giving non-voting academic and staff representatives access to itemized details of the in-camera agendas of the BOG (representing 50% of the total meeting). This would allow non voting members such as union representatives to challenge the shift of items to in camera sessions.
Moreover, the BOG has reversed its agenda by moving in camera items to the beginning of the meeting, which prevents any prior public discussion of agenda items. In fact, at Friday’s meeting, the Chair did not even open the agenda for discussion before calling for a vote. When later challenged on this issue, the University Legal Secretary was called upon to state that setting the agenda was the sole purview of the BOG.
In response to requests by LUFA’s VP Robyn Gorham, Board Chair, Mr. Claude Lacroix, was clear that the BOG unilaterally makes these decisions and haughtily asked Dr. Gorham if their “position was clear enough”.
On repeated occasions, the administration at Laurentian has emphasized the required partnership in solving the current financial problems. They have emphasized transparency, accountability and cooperation, yet they continue to exclude labour partners and the Laurentian community from these discussions and fail to be transparent with their data.
To date, LUFA has received very little financial information besides what is in the public domain. Ernst and Young was hired ostensibly to assist with a better informed process about which promises were made and accepted in good faith.
Instead we are met with opacity and closed door meetings all the while receiving pleas to assist with the current financial situation. Asking the Laurentian community to reduce their well deserved compensation while not providing the necessary data to assess the veracity of the statements, an honest analysis of how we got here, along with an open discussion on the necessary changes to prevent a similar situation in the future is disingenuous and is contradictory to the statements made by the administration that they value transparency and accountability.
If the administration wants partners to assist with solving the deficit, then they need to start treating faculty and the whole Laurentian community as true partners. This can only be accomplished by transparency and inclusion.