The Governing Council
December 15, 2022
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL held on December 15, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall.
Pursuant to section 28 (e) and 38 of By-Law Number 2,
consideration of items 13,14 and 15 took place in camera.
Janet L. Ecker (Chair), Anna Kennedy (Vice-Chair), Rose M. Patten (Chancellor), Meric S. Gertler, (President), Sharleen Ahmed, Vikram Chadalawada, Janet Cloud, Robert Cooper, Sotirios Damouras, Susan Froom, Sandra Hanington, Mathangi (Indi) Gopinathan, Summer Hart, Paul Huyer, Sarosh Jamal, Madeline Kalda, Shashi Kant, Ernest W.N. Lam, Mark Lautens, Scott MacKendrick, Jan K. Mahrt-Smith, Rajiv Mathur, Douglas E. McDougall, Joanne J. McNamara, Eha Naylor, Arman Rasekh, Ryan Teschner, Veronica Marie Wadey, David Zingg, Lara Zink
Sheree Drummond (Secretary of the Governing Council)
Glen Bandiera, David Bowden, Ann Curran, Teodora Dechev, Annabelle Dravid,K. Sonu Gaind, Alexandra Gillespie, Maureen Harquail, Jessica Johnson, Dveeta Lal, Sameer Lal, Kikelomo Lawal, Ron Levi, Danielle Skipp, Nhung Tuyet Tran, Grace Ann Westcott, Mary-Agnes Wilson, Joseph Wong, Geeta Yadav
Cheryl Regehr (Provost), Kelly Hannah-Moffat (Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture),Scott Mabury (Vice-President, University Operations and Real Estate Partnerships), David Palmer (Vice-President, University Advancement), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough), Heather Boon (Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life), Susan McCahan (Vice-Provost Academic Programs and Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education),Sandy Welsh (Vice-Provost Students), Alexie Tcheuyap (Associate Vice-President and Vice-Provost, International Student Experience), Catherine Chandler-Crichlow (Dean, School of Continuing Studies), Lea Harrington (Chair, Dept. of Biochemistry), Kristin Taylor (University Counsel & Chief Legal Officer, Office of University Counsel), Nadina Jamison (Chief Strategy Officer, Office of the President),Jeff Lennon (Assistant Vice-President, Planning & Budget), Catherine Riddell (Assistant Vice-President, Communications), Ron Saporta (Chief Operating Officer, Property Services & Sustainability), Andrea Russell (Acting Assistant Provost), Melinda Scott (Executive Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students), Elizabeth Cragg (Director, Vice-President Operations and Real Estate Partnerships),Kristy Faccer (Director, Committee on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability), David Curtin, Director (Communications Services), Angela Tregalia (Director, Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre), Cheryl Gibbs (Manager, Student Policy Initiatives), Devi Mohabir (Assistant Director, Support and Case Management, Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre), Aden Fisher (CECCS student presenter), Andrew Ebejer (Legal Counsel, Office of University Counsel), Tony Gray (Director Strategic Research), Sobhneek Hothi (Health Studies Student Union), Victoria Liu (University of Toronto Students' Union), Jaime Kearns (Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students), Michelle Pettis (Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students), Maelis Barre (University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union), Reagan Roopnarine (University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union), Micah Kalisch (PEARS Project), Klark Janowski (PEARS Project), Carmen Meijer (PEARS Project), Jaime Gonzalez (PEARS Project), Nora Ahmadi Vosta Kalaei (PEARS Project), Shane Joy (Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council), Zoe Lazaris (Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council)
Anwar Kazimi, Joanne Chou
- Chair’s Remarks
The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting. She highlighted the upcoming 2023 election for seats on the Governing Council and its bodies and noted the vital role members played in raising awareness of the importance of University governance.
With regard to the meeting, she advised that six speaking requests had been received to address the Governing Council on Item 5, Proposed Revisions: Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. She indicated that following consultation with the Executive Committee, and consistent with the practice of granting requests from the five student governments, the requests from the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students (APUS), the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU), the University of Toronto Mississauga Students' Union (UTMSU), and the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) were granted. In addition, the request from the PEARS Project, a coalition that provided support to survivors of sexual violence at U of T, had also been granted. The request from an individual representing the University College United Survivors was declined.
A request from the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union to speak to the University Mandated Leave of Absence Policy was also declined as the item was not on the agenda.
The Chair also announced the appointment of a new Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council (LGIC) member, Ms Sharleen Ahmed, for a three-year term, effective November 3, 2022.
- Report of the President
The Chair invited the President to make his report to the Governing Council. The President addressed the following:
December Graduation Celebration Ceremonies
The President began his report by congratulating the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021. Due to public health restrictions, virtual convocations were held for these classes, and prevented the graduates from convocating in person. The President noted that it had always been the University’s intention to celebrate the 2020 and 2021 classes with in-person graduation events when the conditions permitted. In all, over 26 events were held over two weeks in December, with nearly 8,000 recent graduates participating. The events had been enthusiastically received by students and their families. The President acknowledged and thanked the convocation and events teams, and divisional offices across the three campuses for the extraordinary work that they undertook to make the occasions possible and special for all.
50th anniversary of the Connaught Fund
The President highlighted the recent celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Connaught Fund. He noted that the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories had played a key role in the discovery of insulin, the production of vaccines, and other biological health products for over 60 years. In 1972, the Lab was sold and the proceeds established the Connaught Fund. The President said that the Fund had built on its namesake’s legacy of excellence to become the largest internal funding program for university research in Canada. The Fund had supported hundreds of U of T researchers across every discipline and had disbursed more than $179M over its 50-year history. A 50th anniversary celebration was held at Convocation Hall and featured talks from three Connaught-supported researchers and a panel discussion. The President emphasized that the event was a wonderful way to re-engage with the community and showcase the University’s role in sharing ideas and inspiration with the public.
Trip to Vietnam and Singapore
The President then turned to reflect on his recent trip to Southeast Asia, where he led the University of Toronto official institutional visits to Singapore and, for the first time, Vietnam. The focus was student recruitment, as the University continued to diversify admissions from source countries around the world. Vietnam represented a country with tremendous opportunities as one of the fastest-growing markets. In both countries, the President hosted alumni events and met with university leaders, government officials and prospective industry partners to strengthen engagement and foster collaboration opportunities. The first in-person meeting of the East Asia International Leadership Council (ILC) since 2019 was convened in Singapore. The ILC is comprised of around 15 prominent alumni who provide valuable advice and feedback on engagement activities across the Asia-Pacific region. The visit to this rapidly growing region was timely given the recent release of the Federal Government’s long-awaited Indo-Pacific Strategy and highlighted the opportunities to be realized in that part of the world.
The President then turned to Federal matters and addressed the Fall Economic Statement released by the Federal Government in early November. The Statement had announced sector-specific measures that included:
- permanently eliminating interest on federal student and apprentice loans; and
- new funding to modernize the National Research Council of Canada’s scientific infrastructure.
He remarked that the Statement was silent on increased funding for advanced research and talent creation. The U15 continued its pre-budget advocacy to urge the government for increased funding in these areas. He highlighted the meeting of U15 presidents that had taken place in Ottawa and had engaged with key leaders on this topic. They underscored the urgency of addressing this issue and noted that the Biden Administration in the US had recently announced significant funding and resources to support America’s research and laboratories as part of the Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS and Science Act. He noted that the Canadian government was receptive to the U15’s position, but it remained unclear if new commitments would be made.
The President then highlighted the $35M in funding to revitalize the Toronto High Containment Facility (THCF) (Level 3 Lab) that is based at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. The investment came from the Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (BRIF) that was administered by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). It was the largest CFI grant the University had received to date and supported the University’s plan to modernize the 20-year-old facility. This facility would be the largest academic high-containment research centre in Canada and positioned the facility to play a significant role in addressing future pandemic and health threats in Ontario and Canada.
Shifting to municipal affairs, the President mentioned that he spoke at the Climate Economy Summit that was co-hosted by the Toronto Region Board of Trade and U of T. He highlighted the University’s leadership in tackling the challenge of achieving Net Zero and showcased the work of the Climate Positive Energy Institutional Strategic Initiative that was led by Professor David Sinton from the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. The event was successful, with robust engagement from business, government and academia, and with several U of T faculty participating on panels. The President remarked that it was a great opportunity to share the progress the University had been making on the three campuses with a wider audience.
Times Higher Education Employability Ranking
The President remarked that the 2022 THE Global University Employability Rankings were released at the end of November and reported that U of T moved up one position to 11th in the world, 6th amongst global public universities, 1st among North American public universities. He described the rankings process and underscored that the rankings were a testament to the quality of education that U of T offered.
The President then turned to address the topic of Antisemitism at the University, and the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. He acknowledged the odious reality of Antisemitism, and its global rise in Canadian society and in other countries. He remarked that it was a pernicious and despicable form of racism and emphasized the University’s dedicated commitment to combat and eradicate it, in addition to all other forms of racism on the campuses. He mentioned the numerous statements that the President’s Office had issued over the years condemining Antisemitism in the strongest possible terms. He highlighted the Antisemitism Working Group that was chaired by University Professor Arthur Ripstein, a professor of Law and Philosophy. The Working Group consulted widely across the University and issued a comprehensive report in March of 2022. The University had committed to implementing all eight recommendations put forward by the Working Group.
The President then stated that the Temerty Faculty of Medicine had acknowledged the presence of Antisemitism in their community and had taken concrete steps to combat it. These steps included introducing changes to its curriculum and anti-racism training. The Faculty continuously consulted with its Jewish learners to ensure they were properly supported. Dean Trevor Young had commissioned a research project to shed light on the historical practices of imposing quotas that limited the number of Jewish students who were admitted to study medicine and practice in partner hospitals, a common practice at many institutions of the time. The President remarked on a special event that was hosted by the Faculty which he attended, where this research was presented and included testimonials from survivors of this reprehensible practice. Dean Young, in partnership with CEOs of three of the Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN) hospitals had offered sincere and moving apologies for this historic injustice. The President concluded by underscoring the deep commitment to fight the scourge of Antisemitism on our campuses and acknowledged that much more work needs to be done. He urged all members of the University community to unite in the battle against Antisemitism and all other forms of racism and exclusion.
In the discussion that followed, a member had asked about the Superior Court Decision on Bill 124 and its impact to the University. The President explained that Bill 124 had been introduced in June 2019 and limited compensation increases in the broader public sector to 1% per year for a three-year moderation period. The Ontario Superior Court had declared the Bill unconstitutional on November 29; the bill was deemed void and of no effect. The President highlighted the details and outcome of the case and noted that the Court’s analysis focused on the university sector. As the Act was now void, he mentioned that the government had announced that it intended to appeal the decision, and that the impact and effect of the Court’s decision for the University remained unclear. The President acknowledged that all these issues raised questions which the University would need to review. He stated that, on the matter of university autonomy, U of T would consider submitting an intervenor brief as part of any appeal process. He noted that the University commissioned an excellent legal brief on this principle which it had submitted as a neutral intervenor in the case pertaining to the Student Choice Initiative, but it was too early to determine if this was the appropriate course of action in this case. He concluded by noting that the University would continue to monitor this case closely.
- President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability: Annual Report, 2022
At the invitation of the Chair, President Gertler introduced Mr. Ron Saporta, Co-Chair of President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability (CECCS) to present the CECCS’s Annual Report. The President expressed gratitude to Professor John Robinson (the Committee’s other co-chair), Mr. Saporta, and their Committee for their leadership, commitment, and achievements. He concluded his remarks by underscoring that the work by the committee was a source of inspiration and optimism in tackling the climate crises.
Mr. Saporta began his presentation by introducing Mr. Aden Fisher, a 4th year Honours Bachelor of Science student in Environmental Studies, with minors in Mathematics and Astrophysics. Mr. Fisher offered a presentation on a campus-as-a-living-lab project entitled ‘Sustainability Scholar Assessment Project’ and highlighted its scope, goals, and research questions. He highlighted a student survey that was conducted to assess awareness of the Scholar program and students’ interest in pursuing sustainability topics. He discussed four recommendations to further promote and encourage sustainability education at U of T.
Mr. Saporta thanked Mr. Fisher for the presentation and for sharing their experience. Mr. Saporta then began his presentation on the 2022 Annual Report for the Committee on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability (CECCS). He highlighted the various successful initiatives and progress that the CECCS undertook in the past 5 years, all of which was grounded in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He explained the organizational framework which included its overarching principles, cross-cutting themes and subcommittees. He cited several achievements and examples in teaching and learning, research, operations, engagement & partnerships, and emphasized the Sustainability Pathways Program and the Adams Sustainability Celebration. He went on to summarize the broad scope of sustainability at U of T, and its multidisciplinary approach in connecting with a wide array of faculties, divisions and activities at the University.
In the discussion that followed, Mr. Saporta advised on the following:
In relation to scope 3 emissions and air travel, U of T launched the Air Travel Emissions Mitigation Initiative (ATEMI) to tackle air travel emissions.
- The sustainability focus is broad across the university and involves various activities to facilitate research connections at, and beyond the University, such as workshops to create needs-oriented research partnership opportunities, collaborations with Institutional Strategic Initiatives (ISIs), and work with external stakeholders towards policy-relevant research.
- While challenging due to the size of the institution, forming sustainable and strong partnerships has been a key priority for the committee, who strove for opportunities and fostered relationships that addressed the SDGs, are collaborative in nature, involve students, and complement the committee’s cross-cutting themes and subcommittees.
- The development of appropriate metrics and performance indicators that accurately reflected the impact of U of T’s work on sustainability continued to be a work in progress, and the committee is exploring with others how this could be assessed in future work.
The Chair thanked Mr. Saporta for his thorough presentation and the work of the Committee.
- School of Continuing Studies – Strategic Plan Recalibration
At the invitation of the Chair, Dr. Catherine Chandler-Crichlow, Dean of the School of Continuing Studies (SCS) was invited to offer her presentation on their 2023-2025 strategic plan. She provided an overview of the school’s programs and services, core capabilities and strategic roadmap. She explained that the pandemic was a catalyst for change and highlighted various initiatives. She described their strategic calibration process which included stakeholder consultations, enhancing communications and engagement, divisional reorganization and defining priorities and KPIs. She highlighted their three priorities which included city building, international partnerships, and transformative education. She concluded her presentation by citing several success stories, including the Electro-Mobility Certification Program (EMC), a partnership between Porsche, Engineering and SCS.
In response to a member’s question, the Dean explained that the school was committed to ensuring an equitable, respectful, accessible, and inclusive environment for all staff, instructors, learners, and community partners/stakeholders. She underscored EDI’s principles in culture and work, which was focused on positive change through programming, strategic and institutional initiatives, educational/learning opportunities, communication, and accountability.
- Proposed Revisions: Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment
At the invitation of the Chair, the Vice-Provost, Students provided an overview of the revisions of the Policy and a summary of the 2021-22 process under which the Policy was formally reviewed. She noted the comprehensive consultations during the review process and highlighted the recommendations. She explained that just after the proposed revisions had been finalized, the Provincial government released new draft legislation on Oct. 27, 2022, which was further amended on Nov. 30, 2022. The legislation is now in its final form and will come into effect on July 1, 2023. She highlighted that the draft legislation had both Policy and procedural requirements, and following a thorough review, the University concluded that the Act’s Policy recommendation reflected what was already in the Policy and the revisions that were being considered for recommendation. She explained that the University does not enter into Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) with complainants involved in a sexual violence process. Providing robust support to survivors is the primary mandate and priority of the sexual violence prevention and support centre. She stated that timeliness and transparency were a key recommendation of the review, and that these recommendation was endorsed by the University. She concluded that these revisions strengthened the Policy, increased protections for those who had experienced sexual violence or sexual harassment, and that the revisions and recommendations that had been made in the latest tri-annual review would make meaningful change on the three campuses.
The Chair provided comments on the discussion of the item on behalf of the Chair of the UTSC Campus Council. She reported that:
- The UTSC Campus Council was provided with a presentation for information on the proposed Policy revisions by Professor Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students.
- Professor Welsh clarified for a member that the revisions presented to Council were aligned with the recommendations from the most recently tabled Provincial legislation.
- During the discussion that followed, a member remarked that the language in the Policy could be seen as more prescriptive in nature. In response, Professor Welsh reiterated that the Policy was very clear, and the language had been strengthened to outline what should not take place.
- Lastly, a member inquired as to the awareness and accessibility of this information for students. Professor Welsh outlined the many ways that the administration disseminates information to the student body, while acknowledging the important efforts put forward by the Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre.
Mr. Shashi Kant, Chair of the UTM Campus Council then commented on the discussion of the item at that body. He reported that:
- It received a similar presentation from Prof. Welsh.
- A question was asked about the definition of ‘University community’ in the Policy and Professor Welsh noted that it included students, faculty, librarians, post-doctoral fellows, and all employees of the University of Toronto.
- In response to a question about how consultations were conducted, Professor Welsh explained that support was made available from the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre during the multiple consultation sessions that were held, so that everyone would feel safe providing input.
- She noted that online feedback had been welcomed by certain groups, so that they could express their thoughts anonymously.
- She said that student groups and societies had been very helpful in the development of the proposed revisions to the Policy.
- A member had commended the administration on a well-executed process and outcome.
Professor Ernest Lam, Vice-Chair of the Academic Board, commented on the discussion of the item at that body. He reported that:
- There were no substantive questions from members following the overview of the revisions provided by the Provost for information.
- Three external speaking requests were granted - the Board heard from representatives of the University of Toronto Students’ Union; the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union; and the PEARS project – a coalition that provides support to survivors of sexual violence at U of T.
- UTSU shared that in their view many students had not been aware of the opportunities to provide feedback on the draft revisions to the Policy, and they also questioned the University’s use of Non-Disclosure Agreements.
- In response, the Provost reported that the University had not entered into any Non-Disclosure Agreements with complainants in the last decade.
- Comments from the UTMSU focused on their sense of the pervasiveness of sexual violence and sexual harassment on campus, and the need for a survivor-centric approach.
- The representative of the PEARS project shared the efforts made by students to inform the draft revisions and expressed the concern that the proposed changes did not go far enough to rectify rape culture on campus.
- They also stressed the need for trauma-informed and survivor-centric solutions; a concern shared by the Provost, who thanked the student speakers for their comments and courage in sharing them.
Ms. Sandra Hanington, Chair of the Business Board, then commented on the discussion of the item at that body. She reported that:
- No questions were raised by members following Professor Welsh’s presentation.
- A speaking request from the Founder and Director of the PEARS Project had been granted.
- The PEARS speaker highlighted a recent article in the Varsity on a UTM professor who had violated the Policy and an open letter the PEARS project had penned in response.
- In response, the Provost confirmed that complaints had been received against the professor, an investigation had found that a number of the allegations were factually substantiated, and corrective action had been taken.
- The Board was then reminded of the sanctions outlined in the Policy and that they had all been utilized at various times in the past.
Mr. Vikram Chadalawada, Chair of the University Affairs Board, then commented on the discussion of the item at that body.
- Professor Welsh gave a presentation to the Board. In response to a question from a member, she explained that the Policy reflected and articulated the unique features of the U of T Community and referenced the relationship with the affiliated hospitals.
- In response to a member’s question for clarity around the Policy with respect to employee and students’ relationships, Professor Welsh indicated that the University is reviewing the conflict-of-interest guidelines to ensure they are aligned with the reviewers’ recommendations.
- Lastly, a member inquired about the process and disclosure aspect of the Policy, in which Professor Welsh explained that the Policy is focused on when a report is made, and that the University is committed to reducing barriers to disclosure and reporting incidents of sexual violence.
- Two speaking requests had been granted - one from the UTSU and the other from the PEARS Project.
- Both speakers cited the Varsity article regarding a UTM professor and expressed their view that the Policy did not sufficiently protect students, particularly in relation to the issue of student and faculty relationships.
- The PEARS speaker also highlighted their open letter in response to the Varsity article and community support.
- Following the comments by the external speakers, a member asked for a response from Professor Welsh to the issues that they raised.
- With regards to the UTM case, Professor Welsh outlined the process that the University followed and the outcome. She concluded by stating that the University continues to evolve processes under the Policy to meet the needs and expectations of its community.
- The Board recommended the proposed revisions to the Policy be approved by the Governing Council, though noted that there were a few abstentions.
Following his remarks, Mr. Vikram Chadalawada moved the motion as it appeared on page 5 of the cover sheet for this item.
In the discussion that followed, it was noted that:
U of T was the first university in the province to be inclusive of staff, faculty, and librarians in addition to students in the Policy.
- There were a range of sanctions provided for under the Policy, and that the University had implemented all of these sanctions during the life of the Policy.
- Each time the University received a complaint, it followed a process that typically included an external investigation. The external investigator provided determinations in a case and informed the University of its recommendations in terms of imposing the appropriate sanctions based on the behaviour.
- The issue of student-faculty relationships had been reviewed in the past and was also considered as part of the current review process. The Provost indicated that she had raised the possibility with student groups of a ban on such relationships earlier in her term, and that student groups had indicated that they did not wish to have an outright ban. The Reviewers, following their very extensive consultations during the review on this specific issue, also did not recommend, a ban on faculty-student relationships. The University nonetheless is aware that there can be a power imbalance in such relationships and takes such matters seriously.
The Chair then invited representatives from the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU), the University of Toronto Student’s Union (UTSU), the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students (APUS), and the Prevention, Empowerment, Advocacy, Response, for Survivors (PEARS) who had been granted speaking privileges in advance, to address the meeting. The representative from the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) was not present.
- Reagan Roopnarine from UTMSU expressed comments about the Policy in practice and cited the case of a UTM professor who had violated the Policy. She mentioned poor transparency and secrecy, and the failed accountability of the University. She advocated further transparency on the measures taken against the faculty member as well as his termination, and actions to protect and defend students, and requested an external review of the Policy.
- Victoria Liu from UTSU voiced concerns with the inadequate consequences, lack of action to protect students and providing a safe environment. She cited the case of the UTM professor and the lack of accountability for respondents, and quality of supports for students. She encouraged an increase in transparency and welcomed any opportunity for further dialogue to improve the Policy.
- Jaime Kearns from APUS addressed the lack of protections for students and cited Bill 132. In accordance with Bill 132, she remarked that the University was obligated to provide training on the Policy to the University community and had not done so for Governing Council members. She encouraged the University to do better.
- Micah Kalisch from the PEARS Project stated that the Policy and recommendations did not keep students safe and hold perpetrators accountable, and that it did not protect and support survivors. Survivors had been advocating for changes and did not want to wait another three years for another review to make substantive change. She cited a written statement from a survivor and noted the visible lack of outcomes or implementation from any imposed sanctions in that case. She encouraged members to vote against the recommendations and requested that the administration hire an external expert to conduct an unbiased review of the Policy and implement substantial change that would include a trauma-informed survivor-centric approach.
In response, the Provost thanked the speakers and acknowledged the need to do better, increase awareness and make continued efforts on the issue. She indicated that the administration listened carefully in the governance meetings, recognized the students’ frustration, and the push for the University to do things differently. She noted that new case managers would help shepherd investigations and were in the process of being hired; they would provide important assistance in due process to assist parties in navigating the reporting process. The University continued to invest in such case managers, and other kinds of supports such as sexual violence counsellors to address the needs of the community. She stated that the sanctions outlined in the Policy were broad because the range of actions covered by the Policy are very broad, and that the University had used the full range of sanctions provided for in the Policy since the Policy’s adoption. The Provost noted the need to continually evolve processes under the Policy to meet the expectations of its community. She also cited the University’s adoption of the AAU recommendation to address the issue of “passing the harasser” by conducting reference checks on sexual violence for incoming faculty members. She concluded by thanking everyone that came forward and shared their views and perspectives, and she reinforced the University’s commitment to improving the process.
In the discussion that followed, it was noted that:
- The comprehensive review of the Policy in 2021-22 adhered to University practice for policy reviews, which engage a broad and extensive internal consultative process with the very large University community and reviews best practices from peer institutions and experts but does not normally include external reviews of policy. The Provost also noted that external parties are engaged with the Policy in that investigations are typically carried out by external law firms.
- The review and consultation process engaged many student groups and over 700 individuals from all University stakeholder groups. The revisions to the Policy that were being presented were drafted in response to the recommendations made by the reviewers.
- In response to a question of whether the University would be willing to conduct an external review of the policy or engage the Ombudsperson to conduct a review of the Policy, the Provost indicated that the administration could begin by engaging the Ombudsperson, and take process suggestions from that Office.
- The University does not ask or require complainants to sign NDAs at any stage of its response to reports of sexual violence or sexual harassment.
- The University strived to be more transparent with cases that come forward and is constrained by aspects of employment law that restrict what the University can disclose.
- Appropriately addressing sexual violence on campus was an evolving issue and that the University continued to update its processes and associated resources and supports on a regular basis.
- The Policy applied to all members of the U of T community and makes available the same services to everyone – students, faculty, librarians, and staff – going above and beyond in its commitment to meet the needs of the community.
The Chair commented that the revised Policy was an improvement from the existing Policy and emphasized the administration’s willingness to consult with the Ombudsperson’s office and consider an external review of the Policy.
The President reflected that this matter was an ever-evolving effort by U of T and other universities everywhere to do better. He remarked on the significance of the issue, both personally and professionally. He re-emphasized that the administration had undertaken an extensive and inclusive process of consultation through the review of the Policy in 2021-22, in line with the University’s normal process of policy review. He noted that many stakeholders had contributed freely through many different means, and that it was incumbent on the University to ensure all members of the community had an opportunity to contribute. He acknowledged that there remained dissatisfaction with some aspects of the Policy, despite the University’s best efforts in conducting the review and improving the Policy. He repeated the administration’s commitment to listen continuously, to improve and evolve the Policy and process. The University had no higher priority, he reported, than ensuring the safety of all members of its community across its three campuses, and he reiterated the administration’s pledge to support survivors. He stated that the recommended changes to the Policy were substantive, offered in good faith and would improve the status quo in measurable ways. Regarding an external review, the President indicated that there were good reasons for the administration to consider this idea in the next review cycle in three years’ time. In the meantime, he encouraged members to approve the proposed Policy revisions. He concluded by noting that no policy itself could end sexual violence in society. Excellent policy was crucial, but our community must address the behavioural issues at the heart of the problem. All members of the University community needed to embrace and understand a culture based on consent.
On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried
IT WAS RESOLVED
THAT the proposed revisions to the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, dated October 22, 2022, be approved, effective January 1, 2023.
EXTENSION OF TIME
On motion duly moved, seconded and carried
IT WAS RESOLVED
the time of adjournment be extended by thirty minutes.
On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried
IT WAS RESOLVED
THAT the consent agenda be adopted and Item 6 and 7 approved.
- Revisions to the Terms of Reference of the Audit Committee
The revisions to the Terms of Reference of the Audit Committee were approved.
- Minutes of the Previous Meeting of the Governing Council – October 27, 2022
The minutes of the previous meeting of the Governing Council were approved.
- Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
- Reports for Information
Members received the following reports for information:
- Report Number 55 of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Council (November 15, 2022)
- Report Number 56 of the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus Council (November 16, 2022)
- Report Number 242 of the Academic Board (November 17, 2022)
- Report Number 231 of the University Affairs Board (November 22, 2022)
- Report Number 268 of the Business Board (November 23, 2022)
- Report Number 536 (October 27, 2022) and Report Number 537 of the Executive Committee (December 6, 2022)
END OF CONSENT AGENDA
- Date of the Next Meeting
The Chair advised that the next meeting of the Governing Council was scheduled for Wednesday, February 15, 2023 from 4:30 p.m. at the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus.
- Question Period
There were no questions from members.
- Other Business
There were no items of other business
The Governing Council moved in camera
IN CAMERA SESSION
- Appointments: Member of the Governing Council to Governance Bodies, 2022-23
On motion duly made, seconded, and carried
IT WAS RESOLVED
THAT Sharleen Ahmed, a LGIC member, be appointed to the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs for 2022-23.
- Report Number 66 of the Committee for Honorary Degrees
On motion duly made, seconded, and carried
IT WAS RESOLVED
THAT the recommendations contained in Report Number 66 of the Committee for Honorary Degrees be approved; and
THAT the Chancellor and the President be empowered to determine the degree to be conferred on each candidate and the date of the conferral.
- Senior Appointment
On motion duly made, seconded, and carried
IT WAS RESOLVED
THAT, Professor Scott Mabury’s appointment as Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships and his appointment as Vice-Provost, Academic Operations be extended to June 30, 2026.
The meeting returned to open session.
The Chair wished all members a safe and restful holiday season.
The meeting adjourned at 7:18 p.m.
January 17, 2023