Laurentian takes next step in abandoning French with the nomination of a president who avoids speaking the language

December 8, 2022 (Ottawa) — L’Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) believes that Laurentian University’s most recent appointment of a president who refuses to speak French is one more step towards the abandonment of French at the institution since its financial restructuring process.

Since March 2021, the AFO has supported the transformation of the Université de Sudbury and has called for a reform of Laurentian University’s bilingual mandate so that the French-language university programming in the Near North may be governed “by and for” francophones. For several months now, the AFO has also been asking for the two Sudbury institutions to engage in dialogue and come to an agreement that would allow the institutions to properly meet the needs of the students from within the region and across the province. 

“The appointment of an interim president who does not wish to speak in French is a bold, strategic decision by Laurentian University. The AFO believes that the process of withdrawing from French-language programming began with the institution’s financial restructuring and the abolition of half of its French-language programs,” said AFO President Fabien Hébert. 

Early next year, Laurentian University will begin an organizational review of its French-language programming. 

“The Franco-Ontarian community is clear : Our trust in Laurentian has been broken. The future of French is at the Université de Sudbury. Laurentian must abandon its bilingual mandate and come to an agreement with the Université de Sudbury in order to build the future of postsecondary education in the Near North: a Laurentian strong in its English-language programming and a Université de Sudbury strong in its French-language programming,” added Mr. Hébert.