Report: University Affairs Board - January 19, 2021

Via Virtual Meeting



January 19, 2021

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto

Your Board reports that it met on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, at 4:30 p.m. via virtual meeting with the following members present:

Andrew Szende, Chair; P.C. Choo, Vice-Chair; Micah Stickel, Acting Vice-Provost, Students; David Newman, Voting Assessor; Olivia Batt; Harvey Botting; Neil Chakraborty; Stephane Martin Demers; Reshma Dhrodia; Susan Froom; Avrum Gotlieb; Sandra Hanington; Syeda Hasan; Ian Peter Hutson; Ira Jacobs; Joseph Leydon; Ron Levi; John F. Monahan; Sandhya Mylabathula; Ann Perry; Tayyab Rashid; Salvatore Spadafora; Linh Tran; Marium Vahed;

Non-Voting Assessors:
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity
Mark Overton, Vice-Principal, Student Services, Dean of Student Affairs, UTM
Desmond Pouyat, Dean of Student Experience and Wellbeing, UTSC
Melinda Scott, Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students and Student Policy Advisor

David Walders

Christine Sutcliffe

In Attendance:
Beth Ali, Executive Director, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education (KPE)
Saher Fazilat, Chief Administrative Officer, UTM
Rosalyn Figov, Chief Operations Office, Office of the Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity
Cheryl Gibbs, Assistant-Director, Office of the Vice-Provost Students
Karima Hashmani, Executive Director Equity and Diversity & Inclusion
Josh Haas, Coordinator, Student Policy Initiatives
Ben Poynton, AODA Officer


  1. Chair’s Opening Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting.
  2. Reports of the Senior Assessor

    Professor Micah Stickel offered updates on the following matters:

    One-Year Anniversary of the Flight 752 Tragedy

    Professor Stickel began his remarks by acknowledging the one-year anniversary of the flight 752 tragedy which had occurred on January 8, 2020. Among the casualties on the flight were eight members of the University of Toronto community, including six students. He noted that these students were passionate about contributing to the University, changing the world by mentoring fellow students, and inspiring learning to create global impact through their research. In addition to the memorial events that marked the occasion, the University had launched an Iranian Student Memorial Scholarship to honour the legacy of those lost. The scholarship would provide needs-based award(s) to international students from Iran. Professor Stickel noted that the University community would continue to honour the memories of those lost by caring for and supporting one another.

    Student Equity Census Advisory Roundtable

    The Census had been launched on November 16 and, as of the beginning of January, more than 7,600 individual students had completed it. In an effort to support the sharing and use of the data collected through the census and to facilitate meaningful change, the U of T Student Equity Census Advisory Roundtable had been established. Nominations for the Advisory Roundtable had been accepted in November from members across the UofT community with the aim to ensure a diversity of voices at the table. Professor Stickel confirmed that the membership had now been confirmed, and would be co-convened by himself, along with Desmond Pouyat, Dean of Student Experience and Wellbeing at UTSC, Dimpho Radebe, graduate student in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, and Noha Farawi, undergraduate student at UTM, and VP Equity for the UTMSU. Broader membership included students, staff, and faculty from across the three campuses – including five graduate students, eight undergraduate students, 13 staff, four faculty, and one librarian.

    The Roundtable would begin meeting in late January and would continue meeting until June, 2021. In addition to advising on data use and sharing, the Roundtable would consider feedback received on the Census questions and process, to review and assess whether any changes should be made to the census following the first-year roll-out.

    COVID-19 - Quarantine

    Amid the recently announced provincial stay-at-home order, courses would continue to be delivered remotely, with exceptions for those deemed essential. Student services and student life programs would also continue remotely. Some spaces on campus would remain available for students to access essential resources. The quarantine program also continued and, as of January 14, 2,100 students had registered for the program and 1,385 students had completed the required 14-day program. The University remained committed to the health and well-being of the University community.

    Review of the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy

    Plans were being finalized for the review of the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy and would be announced shortly, including the timeline for the review and opportunities for consultation with students, staff, and faculty.

    The Chair thanked Professor Stickel for his Report.

    Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity, then offered a report on equity initiatives being undertaken by University Campus Police. She began by noting that the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) were critical components of campus safety for the University community. The Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office had recently provided training to Campus Police across all campuses, which was centered on racial discrimination and anti-Black racism and the implications of these systemic issues on service delivery. Key areas of focus within the training had included racial profiling, current climate on Black lives, and policing and tools to integrate inclusive strategies into campus policing. Some of the recent training sessions had included “Strengthening Racially Inclusive Practices” (facilitated by the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office), “Racial Profiling”, and “The Journey to Reconciliation presented by the Office of Indigenous Initiatives”.

    There was a great deal of intersection between EDI and mental health, and as such, Campus Police had also received training related to mental health. Some of the recent training sessions had included “Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST)”, “Scenario Based Mental Health and De-escalation”, and “CAMH Customer Service and De-Escalation”.

    Professor Hannah-Moffat then provided a comprehensive list of the EDI trainings provided to Campus Police, which included the following:
  • Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office – Strengthening Racially Inclusive Practices
  • Office of Indigenous Initiatives – The Journey to Reconciliation
  • Anti-Oppression – Micro Aggression – Dynamics of Oppression and workplace discrimination using the iceberg model (Race/Sexual Harassment/Disability/Sexuality)
  • Interlocking Systems of Oppression
  • Systemic Racism / Diversity / Ethics
  • Human Rights
  • Indigenous Culture – The Indigenous Experience in Canada
  • Diversity/ LGBTQ2S+ training
  • Race Relations / Racial Profiling

    Finally, Professor Hannah-Moffat outlined some key considerations related to Campus Police hiring practices, which included not only EDI considerations, but also focused on individuals with experience in addressing mental health concerns. Recruitment also included anti-bias interview questions.

    In reply to a member’s question, Professor Hannah-Moffat confirmed that training was being provided to Campus Police through a variety of methods, including online training, as well as group-based and scenario-based training. Professor Hannah-Moffat also noted that there was a full commitment to train all officers and that leaders within Campus Police had been extremely receptive to these training initiatives.
  1. Proposed Revisions: Statement of Commitment Regarding Persons with Disabilities

    Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat provided an overview of the proposed administrative revision, noting that the University took its accessibility responsibilities very seriously, and was consistently reviewing compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and its standards. The Statement of Commitment Regarding Persons with Disability (2004) outlined the University’s institutional approach to accessibility, and the proposed revisions added the term ‘timely manner’ to the Statement, making it absolutely clear that accessibility needs of members of the University community would be met in a prompt manner. In reply to a question submitted in advance of the meeting, Professor Hannah-Moffat reported that “timely manner” was a term from the AODA which referred to the process by which accessibility needs should be met. While the particular timeframe would depend on the nature of the request being made, it was generally expected that accessibility needs would be met in a timeframe that did not directly impede a student’s ability to access and take part in the curriculum, or an employee’s ability to participate in their role, irrespective of the complexity of the request.

    Professor Hannah-Moffat noted that the University was aware that delays to the provision of accommodations and support could impact academic success, and faculty and staff participation.

    As well, the current disruption due to COVID-19 was having a disproportionate impact on faculty members, librarians, staff, and students with disabilities, including those with multiple, intersecting identities. She concluded that the proposed revisions provided further affirmation of the University’s commitment to timely support for individuals with disabilities.

    In reply to a member’s question, Professor Hannah-Moffat confirmed that there would be University-wide communications as to the changes and the VPRE office would remain available to provide support and guidance.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried

    It was Resolved

    THAT the proposed revisions to the Statement of Commitment Regarding Persons with Disabilities, dated November 1, 2004, be approved, effective February 25, 2021
  2. Presentation: Brief Overview of Operating Plans and Fees

    The Chair invited representatives from Student Life from the three campuses, as well as from Hart House and the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education (KPE), to offer brief presentations on how their current operating plans had pivoted in response to COVID-19.

    David Newman’s presentation highlighted online programming and services, including those related to career services, where there had been increased demand; Mark Overton highlighted the 3x30 health and wellness initiative at UTM which was focussed on students’ mental and physical wellness; Desmond Pouyat’s presentation focussed on online mental health resources at UTSC; Beth Ali’s presentation highlighted the ways in which KPE had adapted to online-only and hybrid (mixture of online and in-person) delivery, including virtual fitness programming and repurposing of physical space to allow limited in-person programming; finally, John Monahan provided highlights of the 140+ hours per month of online programing being provided by Hart House, noting that many of the virtual offerings would remain available after the pandemic.

    In the discussion that followed, members inquired about staff layoffs at KPE and Hart House, health and wellness services offered to students, as well as the ability of UTM and UTSC students to access resources at the St. George Campus. Turning first to layoffs, Ms Ali confirmed that there had been two rounds of layoffs at KPE, one before the summer term and one recently. Both related to the significant reduction in on-campus activities and services, coupled with the associated reductions in ancillary fees. Of the summer lay-offs, the vast majority of those affected had been, invited to return to work in the fall. It was not yet known how long the current round of layoffs would last, and KPE was exploring all options to assist those affected. Regarding layoffs at Hart House, Mr. Monahan confirmed that there had been a number of employees affected, which was also owing to the drastic reduction in programming and the associated reduction in ancillary fees. It was planned that once programming resumed, several of the affected employees would be invited to return to work.

    Regarding health and wellness student support, Mr. Pouyat and Mr. Newman reported that statistics regarding same-day counselling sessions reflected those sessions in which students required immediate access to counselling services. General counselling services were accessed in much greater numbers compared to those accessed on a same-day basis and the University continued to enhance its health and wellness programs through the stepped-care model. Finally, Mr. Newman and Ms Ali both acknowledged that virtual programming was highly beneficial to UTM and UTSC students wishing to access resources at St. George, and the University would be looking at preserving some of these programs post-pandemic.

    The Chair thanked all presenters for their presentations.
  3. Annual Report: Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees, 2020-2021

    Ms Scott offered a presentation that provided a brief overview of the Annual Report. She noted that the Policy for Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees specified the requirements and conditions associated with the fees and the manner in which they were charged. The presentation highlighted two significant changes associated with the fees: the Student Choice Initiative as well as reductions associated with COVID-19. Ms Scott also outlined the relationship between Campus Services Fees, Cross-Divisional Student Societies, and Divisional Fees.

    The Chair thanked Ms Scott for her presentation and there were no questions from members.
  4. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 220, November 24, 2020

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

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  6. Date of Next Meeting: March 4, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.

    The Chair confirmed the date of the next meeting was March 4, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.
  7. Other Business

    There were no items of other business.

The Committee moved in camera

  1. Appointments: Service Ancillaries Review Group Members

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried:

    It was Resolved

    THAT the following be appointed to the Service Ancillaries Review Group for 2021:

    Mr. Andrew Szende (Chair)

    Ms Sandhya Mylabathula (student)

    Mr. Harvey Botting (alumni)

The meeting moved into open session

The meeting adjourned at 6:23 p.m.

January 20, 2021