Report: University Affairs Board - April 20, 2022

-
Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall, 2nd floor

REPORT NUMBER 228 OF THE UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS BOARD

April 20, 2022

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto,

Your Board reports that it met on Tuesday, April 20, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber with the following members present:

Present:
Vikram Chadalawada (Chair), Geeta Yadav (Vice-Chair)*, Sandy Welsh (Vice-Provost, Students)*, David Newman (Executive Director, Student Experience)*, Neil Chakraborty*,
Vanshika Dhawan, Susan Froom, K. Sonu Gaind, Robert Gerlai*, Syeda Hasan, Evan Kanter,
Kikelomo Lawal, John Monahan*, Ann Perry, Tayyab Rashid, Veronica Wadey
*attended remotely

Non-Voting Assessors:
Kelly Hannah-Moffat (Vice-President, People Services, Equity and Culture), David Lehto (Chief of University Planning, Design and Construction), Sheila John (Acting Dean, Student Experience and Wellbeing), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs and Assistant Principal, Student Services, UTM), Melinda Scott (Executive Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students)

Secretary:
Timothy Harlick (Secretary), Patrick McNeill

Regrets:
Dylan Archer Dingwell, Natalie Enriquez-Birch, Gretchen Kerr, Ron Levi, Karen Ng,
Mozynah Nofal, Sherice Robertson, Avigail Rucker

Guests in Attendance:
Valerie Ajayi, Vice-President, Finance, Engineering Society
Alexa Ballis, President, University of Toronto Students’ Union
Fady Barsoum, President, Dental Students' Society
Branden Cave, Chair, Governance Sub-Committee, Students' Law Society
Hannah Carty, Editor-in-Chief, The Varsity
Cianna Choo, Treasurer, Arts and Science Students’ Union
Willem Crispin-Frei, President, Students' Law Society
Brie Berry Crossfield, Executive Director, University of Toronto Graduate Students' Union
Jaime Kearns, President, Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students
Lwanga Musisi, University Governance Commissioner, University of Toronto Graduate Students' Union
Ben Poynton, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Officer


Pursuant to section 33(i) of By-Law Number 2, item 11 was considered in camera.

OPEN SESSION

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the Board’s first in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic. He encouraged member participation and reviewed procedures for voting and speaking during the meeting. The Chair also welcomed the Committee’s newest assessor, Mr. David Lehto, who joined the Operations and Real Estate Partnerships team as Chief of University Planning, Design and Construction.
  2. Report of the Senior Assessor

    Professor Sandy Welsh offered updates on the following matters:

    COVID-19

    Professor Welsh reported that as of May 1, 2022, the University would pause the requirement to complete health screening via UCheck prior to attending University premises, the requirement to be fully vaccinated for in-person activities on University premises and the requirement to be masked in indoor University spaces, unless otherwise required.

    Policies Under Review

    Professor Welsh provided a brief update on the status of the reviews of the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy and the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment.

    She reminded the Board that Professor Donald Ainslie and Ms. Varsha Patel shared the findings of their review of the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy with the Board at its November 23rd, 2021, meeting. Since then, the administration had undertaken a process to consider the recommendations stemming from the review, determined the appropriate external review process, and amend the Policy. The administration hoped to present an amended Policy for approval at the Board next meeting or in the Fall of 2022.

    Regarding the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, consultation had concluded, and the Co-Chairs had planned to release their final report and recommendations to the Administration in July. Any resulting policy changes from the Review process would be presented for approval in the Fall of 2022.

    Student Society Fees

    Professor Welsh then reported on the Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies (CRCSS) and its procedures outlined in the Policy on Open, Accessible and Democratic Autonomous Student Organizations. She commented that in addition to the CRCSS process, the Vice-President and Provost may decide to withhold the fees of a student society where there was substantive evidence that significant constitutional or procedural irregularities existed in the societies’ operation. The Policy required that whenever funds were withheld from a student society, the Office of the Vice-President and Provost informed the Board.

    She informed the Board that in December 2021, the University of Toronto Mississauga Athletic Council (UTMAC) were informed that Acting Vice-President and Provost, Trevor Young had made the decision to withhold further fee installments due to significant procedural irregularities. UTMAC were provided with a detailed list of the actions that had to be taken to facilitate the release of the withheld fees. The staff of the UTM Centre for Student Engagement had made themselves available to UTMAC to support them in this process.

    She also informed the Board that in March 2022, the Vice-President and Provost informed the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union of her decision to withhold from the fees of UTGSU an amount that is equivalent to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) portion of the UTGSU society fee until such time as UTGSU complies with its obligations under University policies. The CRCSS panel made several recommendations to UTGSU and provided a one-year timeframe to implement these recommendations. A summary of the CRCSS decision was available on the OVPS website.

    Thank you to Student Leaders

    Professor Welsh concluded her remarks thanking the student society leaders, many of whom were finishing their terms. They had continued to provide excellent service and support to their members despite having endured another extremely challenging year.

    Discussion

    In response to a member’s question about students impacted by COVID-19 during upcoming exams, Professor Welsh commented that a process had been put in place to accommodate students and they would be required to work with their respective divisional offices directly. She also noted that for students who may be prohibited from travel at the end of exams due to the need to self-isolate, the University would work with students experiencing circumstances outside their control to provide accommodations.

    In response to a member’s concern about the Provost’s decision to withhold only a portion of the fees from the UTGSU given the findings of the CRCSS, Professor Welsh commented that the decision to withhold a portion of the fees was made by the Provost, that it was a thoughtful process, and was informed by the recommendation from the CRCSS panel.

    The Chair thanked Professor Welsh for her report.
  1. Annual Report: Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) (2021-2022)

    The Board received the Annual Report: Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2021-22 from Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat (Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity and Culture), and Ben Poynton, (AODA Officer), The report was also presented to the Planning and Budget Committee on April 13, 2022, for information.

    Professor Hannah-Moffat introduced the report, highlighting that it reviewed activities from January to December 2021, and spanned transitions to and from virtual learning, a gradual expansion of in-person activities across all three campuses, and many disruptions and uncertainties due to the evolving pandemic. She indicated that many of the University’s pandemic lessons would be incorporated into AODA strategies going forward.

    Mr. Poynton shared the progress and challenges detailed in the report. He explained that the report was organized in sections covering a review of the AODA Office, National AccessAbility Week, accessible built environment, accessible communications, accessible service delivery, pedagogy, and mental health.

    As part of his presentation, Mr. Poynton highlighted specific successes throughout the year towards these areas of focus. He also provided an overview of the AODA Plan which outlined planned initiatives to realize the potential of a universally designed, barrier-free University.

    Discussion

    In reply to a member’s question about how the intersectionality of various cultural perspectives of disabilities and ableist assumptions would be incorporated in planning, Mr. Poynton commented that intersectionality was a consideration throughout the training offered by his office. He further discussed the application of universal design and its multiple perspectives.

    In reply to a member’s question about divisional sharing and its impact on accessibility, Mr. Poynton commented on the various engagements his office had undertaken and upcoming engagements such as a teaching and learning symposium where a theme of universal design would be included.

    The Chair thanked Professor Hannah-Moffat and Mr. Poynton for their presentation.

  2. Student Societies: Report on Financial Statements and Internal Auditor’s Opinion

    Professor Welsh provided an overview of the Report on Financial Statements and Internal Auditor’s Opinion. She noted that there continued to be a slightly higher number of pending audit exemptions than in previous years as a result of delays associated with the pandemic. All outstanding 2019-20 audit reports had been received with the exception of the Faculty of Music Undergraduate Association, the Graduate House Council, the Master of Management and Professional Accounting Student Council, the Nursing Undergraduate Society, and the Undergraduate Pharmacy Society. These societies had requested assistance owing to extenuating circumstances and support had been provided. Fee revenues for APUS, the SCSU, the UTGSU, the UTMSU, and the UTSU (SAC) include portions designated for health and dental insurance plans.

    Professor Welsh reported that the respective student life offices on each campus would continue to work with student societies to ensure that the requirements of the Policy for Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees were met. Fees would be withheld from societies until the relevant financial reporting requirements were satisfied.

    Discussion

    In response to a member’s question about the ability of student societies to repay government emergency loans and benefits accessed during the pandemic, Professor Welsh commented that the external auditors for the three societies that availed of the program had noted the accessed government assistance and the detailed plans for repayment. She further noted that the liability for failure to repay the government assistance rested with the three student societies.

  3. Student Societies: Requests for Fee Increases

    Professor Welsh noted that fee increases for student societies was an annual item of business for the Board. Changes in student society fees were subject to the terms and conditions outlined in the Policy for Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees, the Handbook for Student Societies, and the societies’ own constitutions and/or by-laws. In general, all requests for student society fee increases must be supported by constitutional and fair processes within student societies.

    1. University of Toronto Mississauga

      There were no questions or comments regarding the request for fee increases from the University of Toronto, Mississauga. The request for fee increases from student societies from the University of Toronto, Mississauga were received for information.

    2. University of Toronto Scarborough

      There were no questions or comments regarding the request for fee increases from the University of Toronto, Scarborough. The request for fee increases from student societies from the University of Toronto, Scarborough were received for information.

    3. University of Toronto, St. George

      Professor Welsh provided an overview of the request for student society fee increases from the University of Toronto, St. George. She reported that no complaints had been received by the administration with respect to the fee increase requests.

      She also reported for the Board’s information on one student fee decrease. The University of Toronto Graduate Student’s Union (“UTGSU”) General Council had approved a decrease of $10.63 or 8.3% to the Dental portion of the UTGSU fee. The decrease was meant to offset the requested increase to their Health Plan.

      Discussion

      In response to a member’s question about using CPI as a benchmark for student fee increases given current inflation concerns, Professor Welshed commented that CPI had been defined in the Policy for Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees and had been in place for more than 20 years which included periods of higher and lower inflation. She further commented that student societies were autonomous organizations and were able to increase their fees in accordance with the policy and their societies’ constitutions of bylaws.

      In response to a member’s question about the process and timing for approving fees, Melinda Scott, Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students & Student Policy Advisor, commented that the Board was being asked to approve a small number of prospective fee increase requests that had not yet received formal approval by the respective societies’ Boards. If a society’s Board elected not to approve a fee increase that had been approved by the UAB than the fee increase would not be levied.

      In response to a member’s question about verifying constitutional compliance for referendums held by student societies, Professor Welsh commented that as student societies were autonomous organizations, the University was not involved in such matters. She further noted that the University provided support and training regarding the obligations of student societies and their constitutions and questions or concerns about a Society's internal processes should be directed to the Society representatives in attendance or the Society's internal complaint process.

      On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

      IT WAS RESOLVED

      1. THAT, beginning in the Fall 2022 session, the Arts & Science Students’ Union fee be modified as follows:

        1. an increase of $0.33 per session in the society portion of the fee.

      2. THAT, beginning in the Fall 2022 session, the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students fee be modified as follows:

        1. an increase of $2.27 per fall and winter session in the Health Plan portion of the fee; and

        2. an increase of $0.20 per session in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) portion of the fee.

      3. THAT, beginning in the Fall 2022 session, the Dental Students’ Society fee be modified as follows:
        1. an increase of $10.00 per fall and winter session in the society portion of the fee.
      4. THAT, beginning in the Fall 2022 session, the Engineering Society fee be modified as follows:
        1. an increase of $1.40 per fall and winter session in the society portion of the fee ($1.32 for part-time students);
        2. the continuation of, and an increase of $0.01 per fall session and $0.02 per winter session in, the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students portion of the fee through 2023-24 (full-time and part-time);
        3. the continuation of, and a decrease of $0.48 per fall and winter session in, the Human-Powered Vehicle Design Team portion of the fee through 2023-24 (full-time only);
        4. the continuation of the Skule Endowment Fund portion of the fee through 2023-24 (full-time and part-time); and
        5. the continuation of, and an increase of $0.15 per fall and winter session in, the Skule Nite portion of the fee through 2023-24 (full-time only).
      5. THAT, beginning in the Fall 2022 session, the Students’ Law Society fee be modified as follows:
        1. an increase of $10.00 per fall and winter session in the society portion of the fee ($5.00 for part-time students).
      6. THAT, beginning in the Fall 2022 session, the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union fee be modified as follows:
        1. an increase of $1.68 per session in the society portion of the fee ($0.84 for part-time students);
        2. an increase of $27.89 per fall and winter session in the Health Plan portion of the fee (full-time and part-time);
        3. an increase of $0.03 per session in the Bikechain portion of the fee ($0.01 per fall session and $0.02 per winter session for part-time students);
        4. an increase of $0.30 per session in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) portion of the fee ($0.15 for part-time students);
        5. an increase of $0.15 per fall session and $0.14 per winter session, in the Centre for Social Justice - OPIRG portion of the fee ($0.07 per fall and session and $0.08 per winter session for part-time students); and
        6. an increase of $0.03 per fall and winter session in the Sexual Education Centre portion of the fee ($0.02 per fall session and $0.01 per winter session for part-time students).
      7. THAT, beginning in the Fall 2022 session, the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU; legally, the Students’ Administrative Council) fee be modified as follows:
        1. an increase of $1.04 per session in the society portion of the fee;
        2. an increase of $3.47 per fall and winter session in the Health Plan portion of the fee;
        3. an increase of $2.90 per fall and winter session in the Dental Plan portion of the fee;
        4. an increase of $0.02 per session in the Bikechain portion of the fee;
        5. an increase of $0.18 per session in the Downtown Legal Services portion of the fee;
        6. an increase of $1.00 per fall and winter session in the Student Aid Program Fund portion of the fee; and
        7. an increase of $1.19 per session in the Student Refugee Program portion of the fee.
      8. THAT, beginning in the Fall 2022 session and subject to confirmation of approval by the UTSU Board of Directors, the UTSU fee be modified as follows:
        1. an increase of up to $0.41 per session in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) portion of the fee.
      9. THAT beginning in the Winter 2023 session, the UTSU fee be modified as follows:
        1. an increase of $0.47 per session in the Student Commons Capital Levy portion of the fee; and
        2. an increase of $0.72 per session in the Student Commons Operating Levy portion of the fee.
      10. THAT, beginning in the Fall 2022 session, the Varsity Publications fee be modified as follows:
        1. an increase of $0.03 per session in the society portion of the fee (graduate); and
        2. an increase of $0.10 per session in the society portion of the fee (undergraduate).
  1. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the University of Toronto Health and Wellness Centre Renovation and Expansion at the Koffler Student Services Building

    The Board received a presentation of the project from Professor Welsh.

    Highlights of the presentation included the following:
    • the project renovated 3,400 gross square metre of existing interior space, adding a new two-storey addition (which would not be outwardly visible, and was not contemplated in the 2011 University of Toronto Master Plan);
    • the renovation and expansion offered improvements in accessibility and responded to a key recommendation made by the “Presidential and Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health”, (released January 15, 2020), increasing access to functional and therapeutic space for health promotion, mental health services, and mental health and wellness programming;
    • services were accessible to all full-time and part-time University of Toronto undergraduate and graduate students on all campuses;
    • health and wellness services would be housed temporarily in leased renovated space at 700 Bay Street for the duration of the project, with no disruption to students;
    • architects had provided a Heritage Impact Assessment for the project;
    • initial project consultation had included two focus group sessions with students;
    • consultation with students was undertaken again with students during the design development;
    • an accessibility consultation with students with lived experience was being organized with support from the University’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) office;
    • the project would be funded through a combination of deferred maintenance funds, donations received, and future major capital project reserves;
    • construction was anticipated to begin in September 2022, with occupancy targeted for January 2025; and,
    • there was no foreseeable impact with adjacent campus construction.

      Discussion

      As part of the ensuing discussion, the following was addressed:
    • many of the forms of virtual care, (including mental health counselling services), developed through the pandemic would continue to be offered;
    • delivery of services was moving towards an ‘options’ model offering students the choice to have virtual or in-person consultations;
    • primary care never ceased on-campus;
    • positive uptake by students in in-person workshops, making the new health promotion spaces of the project all the more important;
    • embedded care existed within the faculties and colleges, with offices set aside for consultations, and with the hope of more being set aside for health and wellness services, so that care could be provided directly on their premises during the construction period; and,
    • communication strategies regarding how best to advertise and direct students to services at the remote site were being implemented in collaboration with Student Life Communications.

      On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

      IT WAS RESOLVED

      THAT the University Affairs Board concur with the prospective recommendation of the Academic Board,

      THAT the project scope of the Health & Wellness Centre Renovation and Expansion at the Koffler Student Services Centre, as identified in the Report of the Project Planning Committee for University of Toronto Health and Wellness Centre Renovation and Expansion at the Koffler Student Services Centre, dated February 14, 2022, be approved in principle; and,

      THAT the project totaling 1,847 nasm is proposed, with 3,398 gsm renovated space, 456 gsm third floor new addition, and 408 gsm second floor new addition shell space, be approved in principle, to be funded by Donations Received, Deferred Maintenance (towards roof replacement), and Future Major Capital Project Reserves.
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 227, March 3, 2022

    The report of the previous meeting was approved.
  3. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  4. Date of Next Meeting: June 1, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.

    The Chair confirmed that the next meeting would be held on June 1, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.
  5. Other Business

    There were no additional items of other business.

The Board moved IN CAMERA.

  1. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the University of Toronto Health and Wellness Centre Renovation and Expansion at the Koffler Student Services Building - Total Project Cost and Sources of Funding

    On motion duly moved, seconded and carried

    IT WAS RESOLVED

    THAT the University Affairs Board concur with the prospective recommendation of the Academic Board,

    THAT the recommendation of the Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships, as outlined in the memorandum dated March 23, 2022, regarding the Total Project Cost and Sources of Funding for the University of Toronto Health and Wellness Centre Renovation and Expansion at the Koffler Student Services Centre, be approved in principle.


The meeting adjourned at 5:56 p.m.


April 22, 2022