Thorneloe University will seek to block Laurentian’s termination of 60-year-old federation agreement

Thorneloe Univeristy's Ernie Checkeris Theatre. Jun 15/20 (Alana Pickrell/CTV Northern Ontario)

Thorneloe University says it will look to block Laurentian University’s bid to terminate the 60-year federation agreement between the schools in court.

The agreement was entered in 1962 when the institutions were first established, and while there is no termination provision in the agreement allowing Laurentian University to facilitate the action, on April 1, the school issued Thorneloe a “Notice of its intention to disclaim or resiliate.”

The following day, representatives from Thorneloe announced their plans to block the attempt in court where the school will apply for an order to have the agreements not be disclaimed.

This includes the Federation Agreement as well as the Financial Distribution Notice between Laurentian and Thorneloe University dated May 1, 2019. It amends the Proposed Grant Distribution and Service Fees agreement between Laurentian, the University of Sudbury, Thorneloe University, and Huntington University dated November 10, 1993.

The termination would be effective May 1, 2021 with Laurentian stating that the programs at the federated universities, including Thorneloe.

However, officials at Thorneloe disagree, saying enrollment has been “steady over the years” with approx. 2,500 students and a residence they consider to be popular.

“Laurentian retains approximately 39% of tuition and grant dollars received in respect of students who take Thorneloe courses at Laurentian, while Thorneloe bears all of the costs of offering programs and facilities to students,” read a news release issued by Thornloe University on April 2.

“Thorneloe's own financial advisors have reported that terminating the federation agreement between Laurentian and Thorneloe would not have any material improvement on Laurentian's financial situation.

However, Thornloe' president says a termination would pose a significant financial hardship on Thorneloe that would force the cancellation of the unique and popular programs  that are well-received by current students and help attract future students to Laurentian's Faculty of Arts.

"Thorneloe is not the cause of Laurentian's financial problems which have been well known for many months to the Laurentian's administration, as well as to the Ontario Government,” said John Gibaut. President of Thorneloe.

“Thorneloe and the programs it offers play an important role with Laurentian and the Northern Ontario communities we serve. We will oppose this attempt by Laurentian to shut down Thorneloe as a scapegoat for Laurentian's self-inflicted financial problems."