Report: Governing Council - May 16, 2024



THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2024

Thursday, May 16, 2024, 4:30 p.m., in the Council Chamber, University of Toronto Mississauga


Anna Kennedy (Chair), Sandra Hanington (Vice-Chair), Meric S. Gertler, (President), Trevor Young (Provost), Rose M. Patten (Chancellor), Sharleen Ahmed, Amanda Bartley, Glen W. Bandiera, Janet Cloud, Robert Cooper, Ann Curran, Sotirios Damouras, Sam Elfassy, Ramy Elitzur, Mathangi (Indi) Gopinathan, Maureen Harquail, Thomas Hofmann, Paul Huyer, David Jacobs, Sarosh Jamal, K. Sonu Gaind, Ernest Lam, Ron Levi, Scott MacKendrick, Joanne McNamara, Seyedreza Massoum, Brian Madden, Rajiv Mathur, Doug McDougall, Eha Mai Naylor, Andrew Peterson, Firdaus Sadid, Grace Westcott, Mary-Agnes Wilson, Geeta Yadav, Sheree Drummond (Secretary of the Governing Council)  


Leah Cowen, Vikram Chadalawada, Soban Atique, Annabel Dravid, K. Dveeta Lal, Sameer Lal, Kikelomo Lawal, Mark Lautens, Nelson Lee, Joseph Nkeng, Danielle Skipp, Nhung Tuyet Tran, Geeta Yadav, Veronica Wadey, David Zingg

Guests In Attendance:  

Ian Orchard (Acting Vice-President and Principal, UTM), Linda Johnston (Acting Vice-President and Principal, UTSC), Christine Szustaczek (Vice-President, Communications), Scott Mabury (Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships & Vice-Provost, Academic Operations), David Palmer (Vice-President Advancement), Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat (Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture), Archana Sridhar (Assistant Provost), Sandy Welsh (Vice Provost, Students), Nadina Jamison (Chief Strategy Officer, Kristin Taylor (University Counsel & Chief Legal Officer), Alex Matos (Director, Internal Audit), Dan Bowyer (COE Member), Laura Neira (undergraduate student), Clarice Wu (undergraduate student), Salik Qureshi (undergraduate student), Luke Barber (Acting Chief Administrative Officer); Jeff Espie (Director, VP Communications), Brian Cunha (Director, Student Housing & Residence Life), Chad Nuttall (Assistant Dean, Students & International Initiatives), Antonia Lo (Director, Student Services and Ancillaries, Budget, Planning & Finance office); Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs), Asmaa Maloul (Director, Reporting & Analytics)


Emma Thacker (Recording Secretary), Cindy Ferencz-Hammond


The Governing Council moved in camera.

President Gertler provided members with an update.

The Governing Council moved to open session and then went into a brief recess.


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the cycle five meeting of the Governing Council. She offered a special thank you to Ian Orchard, Acting Vice-President and Principal, University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), and his team, for their warm welcome and for the pre-meeting building tour.

    Beginning with appointment announcements, the Chair announced the appointment of two new Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council (LGIC) members: David Jacobs, for a three-year term, effective April 18, 2024; and Thomas Hofmann, also for a three-year term, effective May 2, 2024. She noted for the record that the University Affairs Board had approved at the April meeting the appointment of Elizabeth Shechtman as Chair of the Council on Student Services, effective May 1, 2024, until April 30, 2025. The Chair also reported that the Executive Committee had approved the appointment of Ms Gina DeVeaux, as Deputy Secretary of the Governing Council.

    The Chair reported that at the next meeting of the Governing Council, members would be considering, for approval, modest revisions to By Law Number 2. These revisions were to bridge the gap between the provisions of By Law Number 2 and the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA).

    Turning to an important milestone for tri-campus governance, the Chair reported that this year marked the tenth anniversary of the UTM and UTSC governance structures. The inaugural UTM Campus Council meeting was held on September 30, 2013, with Alumni Governor, the late John Switzer, as its Chair, and the late Hugh Gunz, teaching staff governor, as its Vice-Chair – also in attendance were then President-Designate Gertler and then Secretary Louis Charpentier. She invited Chancellor Rose Patten, who played an integral role in the development of the tri-campus governance structure, to offer some brief remarks. Chancellor Patten remarked that the Task Force on Governance (2010), which she chaired, was tasked to review the governance structures across the University. Findings revealed a need for change to accommodate the institution's ambition, size, and growth. UTM's remarkable success over the past decade was in part due to the leadership of the Campus Council and its standing committees, enhancing the University of Toronto's reputation. Chancellor Patten extended a heartfelt congratulations to UTM, its Council, and its community on a decade marked by outstanding achievements.

  1. Report of the President

    President Gertler began by joining the Chair and Chancellor in acknowledging the significant milestone that the UTM campus had passed and noted that the tenth anniversary of its local governance bodies was an opportune reminder of the importance and strength of the University’s tri-campus structure. Leveraging the strengths, talents, and distinctive local contexts of the three campuses was a powerful differentiator for the University of Toronto, and it was important that the University’s institutional governance bodies reflect the tri-campus structure of the University itself. He extended his heartfelt gratitude to all of the volunteers who had served and continued to serve on UTM’s Campus Council and its bodies for their unwavering dedication and excellence, along with the many students, faculty, staff and alumni who had made local governance thrive. He then invited Professor Ian Orchard, Acting Vice-President and Principal of UTM, to share some remarks.

    Principal Ian Orchard’s Remarks

    Principal Orchard thanked and welcomed President Gertler, the members of the Governing Council, and guests to UTM. Principal Orchard reflected on the tenth anniversary of UTM's governance structure, acknowledging the positive influence of Professor Hugh Gunz, a former professor and UTM Campus Council chair who had recently passed away. Principal Orchard remarked on recent positive developments at UTM, including the upcoming opening of a new energy-efficient science building and the Student Services Hub. These facilities would support the campus’s research and innovation missions, as well as provide important space for student services. Over the past decade, UTM had experienced significant growth. Several new buildings, including Maanjiwe nendamowinan, UTM’s home for the humanities and social sciences, had provided new opportunities for research, teaching, and community engagement. The hiring of over 150 new faculty positions had further enhanced the university's academic strengths. Additionally, UTM's global reach had expanded through increased international collaborations and an increasingly diverse student community.

    Principal Orchard then invited three undergraduate students to speak to their experiences living in UTM residences. Laura Neira (Neuroscience with a minor in Biology), Clarice Wu (Commerce and Communication, Culture, Information & Technology with a minor in Economics) and Salik Qureshi (double major in Economics and Political Science) shared their stories with members, each highlighting how UTM residences had offered them a safe home, fostered a deep sense of community, and provided transformative and enriching experiences.

    President’s Report

    Returning to his Report, the President provided an update on the ongoing protests around the war in Gaza and the encampment at King’s College Circle. He recognized the profound impact these events had had on the University’s community and acknowledged the range of emotions and opinions regarding the encampment, emphasizing that it was a complex and challenging situation. Despite these challenges, he reiterated the University’s commitment to finding a peaceful conclusion to the unauthorized encampment through constructive dialogue and adherence to established principles and policies. The President emphasized the importance of de-escalation, as well as prioritizing community safety and the well-being of all members of the community. He highlighted the ongoing discussions with the student representatives, and the efforts to address their demands constructively as well as the University’s concerns regarding health, sanitation, emergency and public access, and the use of threatening, hateful and discriminatory language. He reassured members of the University’s commitment to upholding the right to free expression, including the right to assemble and protest peacefully, within the limits of U of T policies and the law. He also noted the institution’s equal commitment to the principles of academic freedom and freedom of research, which was why calls for academic boycotts had been consistently rejected in the past. While the University had a high threshold for free expression, that threshold did not include discrimination or harassment. The University was working directly with the students to remove messages or images that were regarded as hateful, and that progress had been made in that regard. He noted that regardless of the circumstances, the University was planning for Convocation ceremonies to proceed as usual at Convocation Hall.

    Turning to Federal updates, the President reported on the highlights of Budget 2024, which included several positive commitments for the post-secondary education sector. The Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, had announced more than three billion dollars in new investments in Canada's research ecosystem over the next five years. Major investments were made in core research grant funding through the three granting councils (SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR), representing an increase of roughly 30% over five years. There were also significant increases in support for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, both in terms of funding as well as the total number of scholarships provided, increasing by about one-third of the current number. Additionally, there were other research expenditures, including $2.4 billion to support artificial intelligence initiatives, including technological infrastructure, support for start-ups, and the safe development of AI. The University had been strongly advocating for these commitments in recent years, and they were a welcome recognition of the critical role of research in driving Canada’s productivity and prosperity. In addition, the government had announced that the increases in undergraduates’ Canada Student Grants and Canada Student Loans would be extended for an additional year, representing a total investment of approximately $1.1 billion. Finally, the budget confirmed increased funding for, and expanded access to, the Apartment Construction Loan Program by postsecondary education institutions, along with the removal of the GST from student housing construction, which would reduce the overall cost of housing projects.

    The President addressed the matter of international students and Provincial Attestation Letters (PAL), which were now required by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada for study permit applicants. He noted that the PAL system now in place was working well, reflecting the hard work and planning of both the Ontario Universities Application Centre and the University. He noted that while the total number of applications from international students was down across the provincial system this year, the University had experienced a much smaller decline than many of its peers. In terms of acceptances, a higher proportion of international students had accepted U of T’s offer and had already paid their deposits compared to last year. Considerable efforts continued to be made to convert admissions offers and acceptances into enrolled students, including initiatives to connect students with their programs, with a focus on academic preparedness.

    The President concluded his remarks by thanking and congratulating Chancellor Rose Patten on successfully serving two terms as the Chancellor of the University of Toronto and offered his congratulations to the new Chancellor-elect, Dr. Wesley J. Hall, who would begin his term as the University’s 35th Chancellor on July 1, 2024.

    The Chair thanked the President for his report and opened the floor for discussion.

    A member requested that the record reflect that the protestors that had been outside the W.G. Davis building had moved inside the building and were outside of the Chamber. He added that members had been asked to use an alternate exit, and that the protesters were chanting phrases such as “shame, shame U of T, we will not stop, we will not go, long live the revolution.” 

    A member expressed concerns regarding two issues: the presence of the encampment and instances of antisemitism on campus, noting that removing the encampment would not eliminate antisemitism. The member commended the University’s efforts to negotiate with students but noted that the encampment was not composed solely of U of T students and included individuals from other universities and potentially dangerous groups. Regarding antisemitism, the member condemned the unacceptable behavior that had been directed in the encampment at Jewish students, including slurs and threats. He criticized the administration’s lack of decisive action and raised concerns about crime, noting that Convocation and high school graduations would be taking place on campus shortly. He urged the administration to consider the University’s duty of care, to ensure that all Jewish students felt safe and included.

    The President thanked the member for their comments and acknowledged that the University was seized with many of the issues raised. He spoke to the University’s ongoing efforts to address antisemitism, including the work of the Antisemitism Working Group which had submitted its recommendations in December of 2021, after extensive community consultations and thoughtful deliberations. These recommendations had been accepted by the University and included recognizing antisemitism as a form of racism and exclusion and addressing it as seriously as any other form of racism. This included incorporating this understanding into all anti-racism staff training and initiatives. The President emphasized the urgency of this work and affirmed the University’s commitment to these important priorities.

    A member expressed his thanks to the administration for the deliberate approach in addressing a complex situation. The member emphasized the importance of the University’s duty of care with respect to all students and faculty and pointed out the diverse range of perspectives and the hurt experienced by various groups. The member urged the Governing Council to represent equitably and advocate for the entire University community and avoid descending into tribalism. The member highlighted the need to refrain from painting either side with a single brush, as not everyone in the involved groups held the same views and emphasized the importance of recognizing the shared humanity of all our students.

    A member shared their view that criticism of Israel should not be equated with antisemitism, but that denying Israel’s right to exist was antisemitic. The member noted that while they had sympathy for the Palestinian cause, the member was not sympathetic to Hamas, noting that any symbols associated with Hamas in the encampment were inexcusable. The member criticized the protestors’ calls for divestment, noting the significant ties of many global companies to Israel, and that Israeli companies constituted about twenty percent of foreign-traded companies on Nasdaq. The member argued against boycotting Israeli academic institutions, considering it immoral.

    A member remarked on the need to address all forms of racism and hate and stressed the importance of avoiding decisions that could incite violence against students within the encampment and to keep this perspective in mind while pursuing a peaceful approach.

    Another member emphasized the importance of adhering to the University’s core principles, such as freedom of expression and academic freedom. The member applauded the University’s measured approach to the complex situation and noted that while it may appear to be a slow response to the encampment, the University’s values and principles could not be compromised.

    The Chair thanked members for their thoughtful and passionate engagement on these complex matters. 

  1. Capital Project (Level 3): Report of the Project Planning Committee for the University of Toronto Mississauga Residence (Phase IX)

    The Chair invited Acting Principal Orchard to address the Council. Principal Orchard reflected on the tradition at UTM convocation where graduating students often expressed appreciation for the sense of community on campus, emphasizing its importance. He then summarized UTM's proposal for a new student residence, acknowledging the collaborative effort behind the project and highlighting its ambition to accommodate 400 beds by Fall 2026. This initiative aimed to support the University's goals of internationalization and enhancing the undergraduate experience.

    He emphasized the pressing need for the new residence, citing the significant growth in student population since the last residence was built seventeen years ago. He reaffirmed UTM's commitment to providing housing for all full-time, first-year students and stressed the importance of meeting the increasing demand for upper-year students who often served as mentors. Principal Orchard discussed the positive impact the new residence would have on both the campus community and the broader Mississauga area, addressing the region's housing challenges. He highlighted the project's sustainability features and its design focused on fostering community interactions. In closing, Principal Orchard shared with members the project’s renderings, and expressed excitement about the prospect of bringing the new residence to life and further enriching the campus community.

    Members had no questions.  

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,


    THAT the project scope of the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) Residence (Phase IX), as identified in the Report of the Project Planning Committee for the UTM Residence (Phase IX), dated March 8, 2024, be approved in principle; and,

    THAT the project totaling 6,538 net assignable square metres (nasm) and 10,088 gross square metres (gsm), be approved in principle, to be funded by UTM Residence Construction Reserve, UTM Operating Reserve, and Financing.
  2. Annual Report: Performance Indicators, 2023

    The Provost, Professor Trevor Young, began by emphasizing the significance of the annual Performance Indicators as a comprehensive assessment of the University's achievements and progress. These measures encompassed various aspects crucial for the University's success, including its standing in international rankings, financial health, fundraising endeavors, research funding, student demographics, housing facilities, mental health support, accessibility services, financial aid initiatives, student satisfaction, retention, graduation rates, and sustainability efforts. The Provost provided the following highlights from the report:
  • The University consistently ranked among the top globally, securing the number one position in Canada and maintaining a position within the top 15 among publicly funded universities worldwide.
  • Financially, the University exceeded benchmarks, reflecting prudent financial management and robust performance.
  • Fundraising efforts yielded remarkable results, with a substantial number of donors contributing to various initiatives. The establishment of the Sam Ibraham Center for Inclusive Excellence and Entrepreneurship Innovation and Leadership, at UTSC, stood as a testament to the transformative impact of philanthropic contributions. Additionally, donations to programs such as Scholars at Risk showcased the University’s commitment to social responsibility and global engagement.
  • Research funding remained impressive, surpassing almost $1.5 billion, supported by collaborations with partner hospitals and diversification strategies.
  • The analysis of student census data provided valuable insights into the diverse student body, with a high response rate indicating robust data accuracy. The University's status as an international destination for students was reinforced by a doubling of countries represented over the past eight years, showcasing its global appeal and diverse learning environment.
  • Efforts to address student housing needs were underway, with ongoing construction projects aimed at expanding residential spaces.
  • Mental health support remained a priority, with the University implementing comprehensive services to address varying student needs. Partnerships with institutions such as CAMH had strengthened the University's capacity to provide holistic mental health care to its students.
  • Accessibility services had experienced significant growth, reflecting the University's commitment to fostering an inclusive learning environment.
  • Financial aid initiatives continued to support students in need, with a substantial endowment dedicated to student aid.
  • Student satisfaction surveys indicated positive experiences overall, with high satisfaction rates among both undergraduate and graduate students. The University's performance under the Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA) remained strong, particularly in research and teaching domains, contributing to its reputation for academic excellence.
  • High post-graduation employment rates underscored the University's effectiveness in preparing students for successful careers.
  • Sustainability efforts, including greenhouse gas emission reduction, demonstrated the University's commitment to environmental responsibility. Anticipated projects such as Project Leap promised further advancements in sustainability.

A member expressed surprise at the presented financial profit ratio which the member commented was significantly higher than the typical range for publicly traded US companies. The member asked about the drop in donations for the year and asked for clarity about the graduate employment rate, pointing out that mere employment did not necessarily reflect whether graduates had attained desired positions. David Palmer, Vice-President, Advancement, responded that fundraising results varied from year to year and so the focus was on the average trend over time. He referred to the current Defy Gravity campaign and highlighted the tremendous trajectory in the University's overall fundraising base across all units. Regarding employment rate, Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students, clarified that within the SMA (3), 89% of graduates were employed in fields related to their education at the University. This suggested that most graduates were securing jobs relevant to their academic pursuits. The graduation employment data for international and domestic students was similar. 

A member asked for clarification on the racial and/or ethnocultural identity categories. Vice-Provost Welsh responded that the data was a high-level snapshot, and that the data was pulled from a self-reporting student equity survey. A public dashboard would be available soon, to show the data in greater detail.  

A member asked about graduation rates and student mental health. The discussion that followed focused on the complexity of graduation rates and the challenges of linking mental health data with completion rates due to privacy regulations. Asmaa Maloul, Director, Reporting & Analytics, also noted the difficulty of tracking students who transferred to other institutions. Various other student records and survey data had been used to understand factors affecting graduation rates. It was noted that students with accessibility needs graduated at similar rates to the general student population. In response to another question about mental health, the Provost outlined a tiered approach to delivering academic support and mental health services to students. He stressed the importance of accessibility support and timely interventions, particularly for students with more common concerns, which could impede their academic progress. He also noted collaborative efforts with partners like CAMH to effectively address these challenges.​​​


On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,


THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 5, the report of the previous meeting, be approved.

  1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting of the Governing Council

    The minutes of the previous meeting for April 4, 2024, were approved.
  2. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting.
  3. Reports for Information 

    Members received the following reports for information:
    1. Report Number 65 of the UTM Campus Council (April 15, 2024)
    2. Report Number 63 of the UTSC Campus Council (April 16, 2024)
    3. Report Number 278 of the Business Board (April 25, 2024)
    4. Report Number 240 of the University Affairs Board (April 11, 2024)
    5. Report Number 549 of the Executive Committee (May 7, 2024)
    6. Report Number 250 of the Academic Board (April 18, 2024)
    7. Semi-Annual Report on the Reviews of Academic Programs and Units, Part 2


  1. Date of the Next Meeting – June 27, 2024 at 4:30 p.m.

    The Chair advised members that the next Governing Council meeting (Cycle 6) was scheduled for Thursday, June 27, 2024, at 4:30 p.m.  
  2. Question Period

    There were no questions for the administration.
  3. Other Business

    There was no other business.


The Governing Council moved in camera.

  1. Capital Project (Level 3): Report of the Project Planning Committee for the University of Toronto Mississauga Residence (Phase IX) - Total Project Costs and Sources of Funding

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,


    THAT the total project costs and sources of funding, for the UTM Residence Building (Phase IX), as described in the item documentation be approved in principle.  
  2. Appointments: Committee for Honorary Degrees Membership, 2024-25

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,


    THAT the proposed memberships of the 2024-25 Committee for Honorary Degrees be approved.

    The Chair moved to extend the meeting for an additional 20 minutes. The motion was seconded and approved.
  3. Appointment: Member of the Governing Council to Governance Bodies, 2023-24 – Addendum

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,


    THAT Samuel Elfassy be appointed to the Audit Committee and Business Board for 2023-24.
  4. Appointments: Members of the Governing Council to Governance Bodies, 2024-25

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,


    THAT the proposed Assignments of members of the Governing Council to Boards and Committees for 2024-25, be approved. 
  5. Appointment: Assistant Secretary to the Discipline Appeals Board

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,


    THAT Karen Bellinger be appointed Assistant Secretary of the Discipline Appeals Board effective May 16, 2024. 
  6. Presidential Search Committee – Membership

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,


    THAT the proposed membership of the 2024-25 Presidential Search Committee be approved, as outlined in the memorandum from the Chair (and listed below) dated May 16, 2024. 

    Ms Anna Kennedy (Chair)
    Ms Mary Lyne (Administrative Staff)
    Mr. Corwin Cambray (Alumni)
    Ms Candice Jay (Alumni)
    Ms Claire Kennedy (Alumni)
    Ms Sandra Hanington (Lieutenant Governor-in-Council)
    Mr. Rajiv Mathur (Lieutenant Governor-in-Council)
    Mr. Firdaus Sadid (Students: Full-time Undergraduate)
    Ms Susan Froom (Students: Part-time Undergraduate)
    Ms Annabelle Dravid (Students: Graduate)
    Professor Brenda Andrews (Teaching Staff)
    Professor Pamela Klassen (Teaching Staff)
    Professor Mark Lautens (Teaching Staff)
    Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah (Teaching Staff)
    Professor Arthur Ripstein (Teaching Staff)

    The meeting returned to open session. 

The meeting adjourned at 7:14 p.m.

June 11, 2024