Report: University Affairs Board - January 17, 2024

Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall



To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto,

Your Board reports that it held a meeting in the Council Chamber on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 with the following members present:

K. Sonu Gaind (Acting Chair), Sandy Welsh (Vice-Provost, Students), David Newman (Executive Director, Student Experience), Faraz Alidina, Amanda Bartley*, Odelia Bempah, David Kim, Nelson Lee, Somtochukwu Nnakenyi*, Konrad Samsel, Lauren Vollmer

REGRETS: Vikram Chadalawada (Chair), Geeta Yadav (Vice-Chair), Soban Atique, Glen Bandiera, Natasha Hanif, Helia Karami, Gretchen Kerr, Dveeta Lal, Wei-Tung Ling, Ron Levi, Firdaus Sadid

NON-VOTING ASSESSORS: Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs and Assistant Principal, Student Services, UTM), Neel Joshi (Dean of Student Experience and Wellbeing), Melinda Scott (Executive Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students)

SECRETARIAT: Joanne Chou, Tracey Gameiro

Nicole McFadyen, Assistant Director, Education and Communication, Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre  
Devi Mohabir, Assistant Director, Education and Communication, Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre  
Laura Bradbury, Executive Director, Office of Safety & High Risk, Sexual Violence/High Risk
Adam Fraser, Director, High Risk, Investigation & Special Projects Sexual Violence/High Risk
Theodor Fritz, Assistant Director, High Risk, Sexual Violence Investigations, Sexual Violence/High Risk
Cheryl Gibbs, Manager, Student Policy Initiatives
Josh Hass, Coordinator, Student Policy Initiatives
Miu Hu, University of Toronto Students'​ Union
Lynne Alexandrova, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)

(*attended remotely)


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Secretary called the meeting to order and informed the Board that the Chair and Vice-Chair had an unavoidable conflict and were unable to attend. The Secretary provided an overview of the process for electing an acting Chair for the meeting.  

    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried  


    THAT Professor Sonu Gaind act as the Presiding Officer, pro-tempore, to Chair the meeting held on January 17, 2024, in the absence of the Chair, Mr. Vik Chadalawada and Vice-Chair, Dr. Geeta Yadav.  
  2. Report of the Senior Assessor

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Sandy Welsh began her report by wishing everyone a good start to the winter term. She announced that Dr. Melinda Scott, Executive Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students (OVPS) had accepted the appointment of Vice-Provost, Student Affairs at the University of Guelph, and that her last day at the University of Toronto was February 14, 2024. She remarked that Melinda was an exceptional colleague and was a valued member of the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students. Melinda made extraordinary contributions to the office, leading the office through a number of complex policy reviews, and was instrumental in reviewing and enhancing the Supportive Leaves Policy, provided pivotal support to the Review of the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, and the Review Committee for the Role of Campus Safety in Responding to Students in Mental Health Crisis. Prior to serving as Executive Director, OVPS, Melinda was the Dean of Students at University College for 8 years where she was responsible for the co-curricular life of the College, including overseeing the UC Residences, the Commuter Student Centre, and Success Commons. Professor Welsh concluded her remarks by acknowledging that while Dr. Scott would be missed, she was excited to see her impact on the University of Guelph in the years ahead, and congratulated her on her new position.

    The Chair, on behalf of the Board, expressed appreciation and gratitude to Melinda for her exemplary service to governance over the last several years, and for her wisdom, integrity, and sound judgement. He noted that Dr. Scott was a key source of oversight, and prudence, and was invaluable to the work of the Board, and wished her well in her new role at the University of Guelph.
  3. Annual Report: Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre

    The Chair invited Professor Welsh, to provide an update on the Annual Report: Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre. Professor Welsh began by noting that it was a new transition report that highlighted activities under the University’s Sexual Violence Policy, and fulfilled the legislated reporting requirements.

    Professor Welsh noted that the report was the first to address the call for additional institutional reporting as recommended by the 2022 Review of the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Professor Welsh emphasized the available data in the report which included the number of Disclosures, Reports broken down by the status of Complainant and Respondent, how the Reports progressed after assessment, and the time elapsed for related processes. She explained the separate actions under the policy, and reported that:
  • There were a total of 172 Disclosures of sexual violence, and where 28 of them became Reports;

  • Of the 28 Reports, 17 proceeded with an Investigation under the Policy;  
  • Another 7 proceeded with Non-adjudicative Resolution under the Policy where the Complainant and the Respondent reach a resolution agreement;  
  • 1 Report did not proceed under the Policy as a third-party process;
  • 3 Reports had their assessments temporarily paused while a parallel process, such as criminal, civil, or regulatory process, was underway;  
  • All 28 Reports progressed either with a process under the Policy, a third party or a parallel process;  
  • During the reporting period, 13 cases were concluded. Reports were processed in a timely manner and employed a trauma-informed approach; 
  • Six of these cases took less than six months to conclude and five of these cases took less than a year to conclude. Two cases took more than a year to conclude.  Professor Welsh noted that these processing times were an important baseline as the University was working to create additional capacity to reduce institutional delays.  

    Professor Welsh reminded members that in response to the Review of the Policy, two Case Managers were hired to reduce undue institutional delays. She explained the Centre’s organizational structure, practices, educational initiatives across all campuses, and the available supports it provided. She provided details about the Centre’s activities over the past year and activities that would be taking place during the following year. This included implementing the recommendations of the Review and enhancing the programs, resources, and processes to encourage the community to access support and reduce barriers to disclosing and reporting. 

    Professor Welsh then addressed a member’s question that had been shared in advance regarding timeframe of process steps for completion in the event of a report, availability of educational materials and the types of programming during the new student orientation period to enhance awareness of the Policy. In response, Professor Welsh explained that there was no specific target timeframe for the resolution of a complaint due to many unique factors, and that it was always the University’s goal to complete the process in as timely a manner as possible and to mitigate any institutional delays. She underscored the importance of the recent case managers that were hired and moving forward, the annual report would include year over year data to compare the timelines for completion of processes under the Policy. She added that OVPS was currently revising the Companion Guide to the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, and was consulting with students and student organizations for their feedback. She noted that the revised Guide would be available later this year. She clarified that during the orientation period, the staff of the Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre engaged in a wide array of student programming for new students and student leaders. Professor Welsh concluded her remarks by noting that the SVPSC launched a new online asynchronous training module, Building a Culture of Consent at the University of Toronto, and that education and training were an ongoing significant focus of the work of the Centre, with a focus on the prevention of sexual violence within the community. 

    In response to a member’s question about the proper care and resources provided to students, Professor Welsh responded that since the Centre’s inception several years ago, it had expanded with significant staff across the tri-campus, including Sexual Violence Coordinators, all with appropriate training, background and trauma informed work to support the students. She underscored the importance of creating a safe space for students and that the Center provided supports for anyone at the University of Toronto that had been affected by sexual violence or sexual harassment.   

    In response to another member’s question about potential challenges and resolution of cases  that arose when the respondent was a faculty member, Professor Welsh responded that while the University did not use satisfaction of a complainant as an outcome indicator, it sought resolutions that aligned with the facts of the case and ensured there would be no retribution on the part of a Respondent. She emphasized the supports available and ensured that students and members of the university community felt comfortable coming forward to make a Report or complaint against faculty. She noted that the additional data in the report helped illustrate what was happening on campus, and hoped it encouraged more people to come forward. She remarked that based on the complexities of the cases, all of the various disciplinary options were used and respectful of the complainant. She concluded that more general information about these cases would be provided in the next annual report.

    A member expressed appreciation and gratitude for all of the Centre’s initiatives and efforts in shifting the culture, and providing a pathway for students and community members to seek support and resources, noting the diverse and impactful programming that addressed the needs of the community.  Professor Welsh thanked the member for his feedback and acknowledged the members from the Centre that were in attendance. She concluded by emphasizing the Centre’s newsletter which highlighted events and activities facilitated by the Centre.

    The Chair thanked Professor Welsh for her report.   
  1. Annual Report: Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees 2023-24

    The Chair invited Professor Welsh to introduce the item. Dr. Melinda Scott (Executive Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students), presented an overview of the annual Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees Report, with the following highlights:  
  • The report was an inventory of all non-academic incidental fees, and their designated portions; 
  • The report provided fee data for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years and included a listing of these fees paid by students by division;  
  • The fees were categorized into three areas: Campus Service Fees, Cross-Divisional Student Societies, and Divisional Fees;   
  • The report highlighted the range of fees across the University and was reflective of the local needs of the various divisions and any special programs within those divisions. Fees paid by students varied by campus;
  • Dr. Scott provided examples of these incidental fees for full-time and part-time undergraduate, and graduate students for 2022-23 across the three campuses, and outlined a comparison chart of these fees among divisions at the University.   

    There were no questions from members.



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. Report of the Previous Meeting

    The Report of the Previous meeting was approved.

  2. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.

  1. Date of Next Meeting: February 28, 2024, at 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

    The Chair confirmed that the next meeting would be held on February 28, 2024 in the Council Chamber.
  2. Other Business

    There were no items of other business.

The meeting adjourned at 5:09 p.m.

January 31, 2024