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Grateful that Laurentian has a chance at renewal

by Jeff Bangs, Chair of Board of Governors – Laurentian University

I cannot recall ever going through the full range of emotions the way I did waiting for the results of this vote, the judgment of creditors on Laurentian’s plan to recover, rebuild and chart a better future.

Usually, the outcome of a vote clearly indicates if you are on the winning or losing side. Not this time around.

So much was lost by so many in the lead up to this pivotal moment. We must never forget that.

Make no mistake though, we have given ourselves the chance to redefine LU and together write a new and brighter chapter featuring transparency, collegiality and accountability.

As we enter the fall recruitment season to attract students for the 2023 school year , it is important that our staff and faculty who play such a huge role in promoting Laurentian are able, for the first time in many years, to lean into the task without the burden of a pandemic and an insolvency process weighing them down. We can once again say with confidence that if a student enrolls at Laurentian, they will be able to complete their studies here.
Of course, the transformative changes the university needs will not all happen overnight. As stated in the Plan of Arrangement, we are looking at a multi-year effort toward a sustainable and financially viable future. The first step was taking back control with the support of creditors.

It is now in our hands to continue the healing process and undertake the rebuilding phase. As Chair of the Board of Governors, I am committed to doing so by creating a bigger tent, one that is more inclusive and more transparent about the steps we intend to take – with greater input from union partners, staff, students, retirees and employers – to put this institution back on the path to success in a way its never seen before.

Over the past nine months the university has experienced a complete turnover in Board membership, signaled changes in the highest management ranks and started forming new relationships based on mutual trust and respect. Reports that have been done on operations and governance, and even the advice and observations of the Auditor General, will be important points of reflection to ensure that the mistakes of the past are never repeated. We owe it to the Greater Sudbury community; present and future students; the faculty of today and tomorrow; and our staff team who keep our campus running at all levels to press forward with the goal of making Laurentian University’s comeback story a case study in resilience, determination, and belief in the value of postsecondary education.

Gratitude is in order for those who endorsed our Plan of Arrangement as is respect for the views of those who did not. A new and different kind of hard work begins today to ensure the rare chance we’ve been given is not wasted, that trust is earned, and stronger relationships guide us to a brighter future.

Miigwetch. Merci. Thank you.