Report: University Affairs Board - January 27, 2020

Simcoe Hall, 27 King’s College Circle, Governing Council Chamber 2nd Floor


January 27, 2020

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto

Your Board reports that it met on Monday, January 27, 2020, at 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber with the following members present:

Andrew Szende (Chair), P.C. Choo (Vice-Chair), Sandy Welsh (Vice-Provost, Students), Apefa Adjivon, Catherine Bragg, Reshma Dhrodia, Avrum Gotlieb, Ira Jacobs, Amin Kamaleddin, Clayon Levy, Joseph Leydon, John F. Monahan ,Sandhya Mylabathula,,David Newman, Tayyab Rashid, Gurvir Sangha, Mark Seymour, Daman Singh

Non-Voting Assessors:
Desmond Pouyat (Dean, Student Affairs, UTSC), Cheryl Regehr (Vice-President and Provost(, Meredith Strong (Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students and Student Policy Advisor)

In Attendance:
Jan Mahrt-Smith (Governor), Brieanne Berry-Crossfield (Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students), Cheryl Gibbs (Assistant-Director, OVPS), Josh Hass (Coordinator, Student Policy Initiatives)

Harvey Botting, Jayde Jones, Mark Lautens, Ron Levi, Stephanie Rose


1. Chair’s Welcome and Opening Remarks

The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting. He noted that one speaking request had been received, to speak to item 3 on the agenda, the Final Report of the Student Mental Health Task Force and Administrative Response. That request, from Ms Jaime Kearns, President of the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students (APUS), had been granted. However, due to illness, Ms Kearns was not able to attend the meeting.

2. Report of the Senior Assessor

Professor Welsh provided an update on the following matters:

Iranian Student Memorial Scholarship Fund

The University of Toronto had established the Iranian Student Memorial Scholarship Fund in honour of those who lost their lives in the crash of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752, including eight members of the University of Toronto community. The endowed fund would provide needs-based awards to international undergraduate and graduate students from Iran who had been admitted to the University or students from any background studying Iranian studies at U of T. The first of these awards would be awarded in Spring 2020 for the 2020-21 academic year.


The University was monitoring the situation concerning the Coronavirus carefully, and was in communication with faculty experts who worked in affiliated teaching hospitals and in public health. Additional information, including an FAQ section, was available on the University’s homepage and updates would be provided as they became available.

Policy on the Recognition of Campus Groups

Consultation on changes to the current Recognition of Campus Groups Policy will begin shortly. In addition to the proposed name change (from the Policy on the Recognition of Campus Groups to the Policy on the Recognition of Student Groups), other proposed changes included the following: the requirement that groups must have a minimum of ten (10) members; that executive members of recognized student groups must be registered students of the University; should the Group wish to use “University of Toronto” in their name, the name shall include notation indicating its student status (i.e. “Student Group”); and clarification on relationship between external groups and student groups.

Student Choice Initiative

Professor Welsh reminded members that, because of the Divisional Court decision, the University had suspended the opt-out system for incidental fees on November 25. Currently, all incidental fees were being assessed to students for winter 2020. For those students who opted out prior to the system suspension on November 25, the University would await the outcome of the appeal.

Kosher Food

An initial kosher food program had been launched at the University, which was being coordinated through the Office of Ancillary Services. In addition, the ability for students to use their TBucks to purchase meals at the Wolfond Centre had been reinstated.

In reply to questions concerning the Policy on the Recognition of Campus Groups, Professor Welsh noted that the intent of the policy was to ensure that it was correctly aligned with student needs and reflected the fact that funding for these groups was provided through student service fees.

The Chair thanked Professor Welsh for her report and commended the University for their response to the Ukranian airline tragedy.

3. Final Report of the Student Mental Health Task Force and Administrative Response

The Provost and Professor Welsh offered a joint presentation, appended here, which provided context to the Task Force on Student Mental Health as well as the Final Report and the Administrative Response. The Task Force had made 21 recommendations, which were grouped into the following five mandate areas: Services; Coordination; Partnerships; Space; and Culture/Other. As outlined in the Administrative Response, all of the recommendations had been accepted by the University. The Provost described the steps which would be taken to address these recommendations and also highlighted a new partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), whose expertise would help guide the implementation of the recommendations.

A lengthy discussion followed, in which there was general member participation. Several members commended the University for the work that had been undertaken with respect to addressing student mental health, and for agreeing to adopt all of the recommendations from the Working Group. Members urged the administration to continue to collect and analyse data and also to engage in informal information gathering by listening to the experience of students to gauge the impact of proposed changes. Members also made inquires about community partnerships, missed appointment fees, pacing for students in professional programs as well as expanding resources for staff and faculty.

The Provost noted that a central pillar of the University’s approach was increased partnerships with the community of health care providers, including CAMH. In part, this would involve clarifying and strengthening the pathways for students seeking treatment at partner institutions. Turning to the missed appointment fee, the Provost noted that an examination of these fees would be part of a process redesign of the supports and services for student mental health at the University more generally. This redesign would draw upon the assistance of external experts as well as experts within the University community.

Regarding pacing for students in professional programs, the Provost and Professor Welsh noted that guidelines and best practices for these programs, particularly “lockstep” programs, were currently being examined. Finally, turning to resources for faculty and staff, the Provost noted that expanded training would be provided to assist faculty and staff when dealing with students experiencing mental health concerns. There was also a suite of supports available through the Employee Family Assistance Program to staff and faculty who were themselves experiencing mental health challenges.

The Chair commended the University for their commitment to student mental health and thanked members for a robust discussion.

4. Update on the Tri-Campus Review

Professor Regehr offered a presentation, appended here, which outlined the Tri-Campus Review, which had begun in Spring 2018 and was nearing its conclusion. The Tri-Campus Review was the latest phase in the University’s thinking about the relationships among the three campuses, following on other reviews that had happened over the years. The structure of the review mirrored the multi-pillar approach of the Budget Model Review, and looked at tri-campus structures and tri-campus relationships across five pillars: Academic Planning and Academic Change; Graduate Units; Student Services; Administrative Structure; and Budget Relationships (undertaken as part of the Budget Model Review).

That Chair thanked Professor Regehr for her presentation.

5. Annual Report: Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees 2019-20

Ms Strong offered a presentation, appended here, 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 outlined the relationship between Campus Services Fees, Cross-Divisional Student Societies and Divisional Fees.

The Chair thanked Ms Strong for her presentation.

6. Report of the Previous Meeting – Report 214, November 13, 2019

The Report of the Previous Meeting was approved.

7. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

There was no business arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting.

8. Date of Next Meeting: March 11, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.

The Chair confirmed that the date of the next meeting would be March 11, 2020.

9. Other Business

There were no items of other business.

The meeting adjourned at 6:21 p.m.