Judges reject appeals from federated universities, Laurentian insolvency plan can proceed

In decisions released late Sunday, two judges have dismissed appeals from Thorneloe University and the University of Sudbury trying to stop the termination of the agreement Laurentian has with its federated universities.

The rulings mean that LU can proceed to the next stage of its insolvency process, allowing it to access $10 million in emergency loans to keep operating until Aug. 31.

Lawyers for the universities argued that terminating the agreements wasn't necessary since Laurentian has already saved more than $30 million in operating costs through program and staffing cuts.

Through mediation under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, Laurentian cut 39 per cent of its programs, which were taken by just 7.5 per cent of the university's 9,000 students, the court heard.

Lawyers for Thorneloe and U of S argued that enough money had been saved already, and the roughly $7 million the school would gain by cancelling the federated university agreement wasn't needed.

It was an attempt by LU to eliminate competition, they argued.

But Laurentian argued that cancelling the agreement was a requirement, approved by the monitor in the process and required to access the emergency funding.

Madame Justice Cory Gilmore, Superior Court of Justice, heard the U of S case in a bilingual hearing April 30, while Geoffrey B. Morawetz, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice, heard the Thorneloe motion April 29.

Both released their decisions late Sunday evening because the new term begins today, and a decision was needed before then. More detailed reasons are expected to be released in the coming days.

In a news release Sunday evening, Thorneloe said it would appeal the decision.

"Given the Court's decision, Thorneloe has no alternative but to cancel its Laurentian online classes for the spring semester, which were set to commence tomorrow, Monday, May 3," the release said.

"Thorneloe will reach out directly to all Laurentian students affected to provide more information. Thorneloe's theology programs will not be affected by the cancellations."