Report: University Affairs Board - March 04, 2021

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Via Virtual Meeting

REPORT NUMBER 222 OF THE UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS BOARD

March 4, 2021


To the Governing Council, University of Toronto

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

Present:
Andrew Szende (Chair), P.C. Choo (Vice-Chair), Micah Stickel (Acting Vice-Provost, Students), David Newman, (Executive Director, Student Experience), Harvey Botting, Neil Chakraborty, Stephane Martin Demers, Reshma Dhrodia, Susan Froom, Avrum Gotlieb, Sandra Hanington, Syeda Hasan, Ian Peter Hutson, Brian Lawson, Joseph Leydon, Ron Levi, John F. Monahan, Sandhya Mylabathula, Ann Perry, Tayyab Rashid, Salvatore Spadafora, Linh Tran, Marium Vahed

Non-Voting Assessors:
Ann Macdonald (Assistant Vice-President, Ancillary Services), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs and Assistant Principal, Student Services, UTM), Desmond Pouyat (Dean of Student Experience and Wellbeing, UTSC), Melinda Scott (Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students and Student Policy Advisor)

Secretary:
Emma Thacker (Interim UAB Secretary), Patrick McNeill

Regrets:
Olivia Batt, Christine Burke, Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Ira Jacobs, Ron Saporta, Christine Sutcliffe

Guests in Attendance:
Beth Ali (Executive Director, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, KPE), Michelle Brownrigg, Gloria Z. Cuneo, Kimberly Elias-Cartwright, Cheryl Gibbs, Josh Haas, Sherry Kulman, Suzanne Macintyre, Serena Persaud


  1. Chair’s Opening Remarks

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

    The Chair invited Acting Vice-Provost-Students, Micah Stickel to share his report. Professor Stickel offered updates on the following matters:

    COVID-19 - Professor Stickel reported that as of March 4, 2021, a total of 2,493 students had registered for the quarantine program. Of those students, 2,285 had completed the program. As of February 22, 2021, any students arriving by air were required to stay at a Government of Canada approved hotel near the airport while they await results of a mandatory COVID-19 test. Programming and health and wellness supports for these students were available during their hotel stopover. Upon receipt of a negative test result, students were transported to the University or a home quarantine location. Students who received a positive test result were required to isolate for 14 days from the testing date and receive further instructions from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Over

    $8.9 million dollars had been provided to students in need of emergency funding. Planning for fall 2021was underway and more information would be available soon. UTM had opened as a vaccination clinic site earlier in the week. UTSC was also preparing to provide space. Discussions were underway regarding a St. George Campus vaccination site. The provision of vaccinations were guided by the provincial government plan. Members of the University of Toronto community would be prioritized in the same way as other members of the public, as outlined in the province’s vaccine plan.

    Update on the Work of the Mental Health Implementation Team - The mental health implementation team, led by Professor Joseph R. Desloges and Ms Catherine Gagne was making progress in responding to the recommendations of the Student Mental Health Task Force (MHTF). Four key areas of focus include: (1) Partnerships; (2) Models of care; (3) Facilitating a whole campus approach to student health and wellbeing; and, (4) Identifying enablers, way finders, and other tools to support students. Professor Stickel expanded to note that there had been extensive consultations with the Centre for Addition and Mental Health (CAMH). In particular, this work had focused on enhancing the University’s ability to connect students with appropriate care. Discussions were ongoing with Health & Wellness leadership across all three campuses as well as consultation with the student feedback group on models of care. As per the MHTF recommendations, Health & Wellness were beginning to implement more fully the stepped model of care. The model was based on improved access to care, co-design of care between the student and the health care professional, with a focus on recovery. Diversity in the care providers and in the health care approach was key to the stepped care approach and this is a key priority for the Health &Wellness and the University as a whole. Campuses, faculties, divisions and colleges have all invested significantly in improved local access to mental health and wellbeing supports – such as on-location Wellness Counsellors. The MHTF noted that students have experienced challenges navigating the mental health supports available to them. Some of the initiatives to support this include NAVI and the mental health portal. A common medical record platform was planned for September 2021.

    Review of the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy - The University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy was approved by Governing Council in June 2018. In recognition of the need for transparency and accountability with regard to the application of the Policy, the Policy itself includes a provision that the Provost undertake a review of the Policy in the third academic year of its operation, and report to the Governing Council about that review. The Provost has confirmed that Professor Donald Ainslie (Department of Philosophy) will lead the review. Ms Varsha Patel, Assistant Dean of Student Success and Career Support at UTSC will also be participating as a member of the review team. A consultation website for the review was launched and all members of the University community are invited to provide feedback. Online submissions will be accepted until April 2, 2021. In addition to the consultation website, the review team will be reaching out directly to various stakeholder groups across the University for feedback on the Policy and they will also be holding open consultation sessions. The dates of these sessions will be shared broadly when they are confirmed.

    Update on the Student Commons - Professor Stickle provided a brief update on the Student Commons noting that the construction on the Student Commons was in the final stages and several of the floors of the building had been approved for occupancy. Final preparations were underway to prepare for the building to open. It was hoped that student groups and other occupants would be able to move in this summer and that the building would be operational for Fall 2021.

    In reply to a member’s question about the potential of an expansion of the Student Crisis Response team, Professor Stickel responded that yes, there are plans to do more hiring in this area. He also referred to a Task Force recommendation to create an after-hours crisis response team.

    A member asked about continuing online mental health supports post-pandemic. Professor Stickel responded that yes, alternative types of services (e.g., online) for students who cannot come to campus, will be part of the set of services provided.

    A member asked about access to provincial funding to support campus mental health services. Professor Stickel responded that the issue of mental health was a challenge faced broadly by society, and funding was not yet where it needed to be. He explained that continued advocacy, seeking funding for initiatives, and community partnerships was critical to move forward.

    A member noted that CUPE 3902 (Unit 1) academic workers, such as Teaching Assistants, had recently voted for a strike mandate, and inquired if there was an update on this activity. Professor Stickel responded that he was aware that the negotiations and discussions were ongoing, and that both parties would like to continue making progress.

    The Chair thanked Professor Stickel for his Report.
  3. Operating Plans: Service Ancillaries

    The Chair introduced the item, explaining that the UTM and UTSC plans were provided to the Board for information in order to provide context for members during the consideration of the St. George Service Ancillaries’ Operating Plans and to provide members with relevant information in relation to the Board’s responsibility and interest in University-wide campus issues.

    Professor Stickel explained that a number of bodies or groups reviewed the operating plans. These groups include undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff. At the University of Toronto Mississauga, these bodies include the Student Housing Advisory Committee, the Food Service Advisory Committee, the Resident Student Dining Committee, and the Transportation & Parking Advisory Committee. The UTSC operating plans were developed via a similar consultative process. The Student Housing Advisory Committee, Food User Committee and the Parking Advisory Review Committee provide advice and input.
    1. University of Toronto Mississauga

      The Service Ancillaries Operating Plan from the University of Toronto Mississauga were received for information.
    2. University of Toronto Scarborough

      The Service Ancillaries Operating Plan from the University of Toronto Scarborough were received for information.
    3. St. George Campus

      The Chair, who was a member of Service Ancillaries Review Group (SARG), noted that the discussion at SARG had been very productive and he thanked the two members (Harvey Botting and Sandhya Mylabathula), who served on the group.

      Professor Stickel noted that consultation on each of the ancillary’s plans occurs first at the local level at which students are involved. Draft plans had been reviewed by the Financial Services Department, whose report has been considered by the SARG, which includes several members from this Board.

      A member asked about any consideration for the ancillary operating plans, with respect to the ongoing pandemic. The member also inquired about how net operating loss was managed. Professor Stickel responded that the pandemic was considered. He acknowledged that there were some unknowns, and so a cautious plan was developed going into 2021-22. Shortfalls were addressed differently in different ancillary units, but there would be a plan in place at year-end. Ms Anne Macdonald added that ancillary units are typically expected to self-fund, with surplus from previous years used to assist operations; however, there can be assistance from the University where it is needed.

      A member asked about how fees were set for 2021-22. Professor Stickel and Anne Macdonald responded that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and inflation were part of the rate increase, however other costs (e.g., staffing, building maintenance, utilities) were also considered.

      On motion duly made, seconded and carried IT WAS RESOLVED

      THAT the proposed 2021-22 operating plans and budgets for St. George service ancillaries, as summarized in Schedule I; the St. George service ancillary capital budgets as summarized in Schedule V, St. George service ancillary rates and fees in Schedule VI, and the St. George business ancillary rates and fees in Schedule VII be approved, effective May 1, 2021.
  4. Operating Plans and Fees - Student Affairs and Services, University of Toronto Mississauga

    The Chair introduced the item, explaining that the Board had a specific role in respect of the consideration of Operating Plans and Fees for the St. George and University-wide student services and service ancillaries. With respect to the UTM and UTSC, consideration and discussion of those proposals occurred within their respective Campus Affairs Committee and Campus Council meetings and they were provided for information. Ms Scott, Director of the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students & Student Policy Advisor, offered a presentation that provided a brief overview of the process to determine the plans and fees.
    1. Advice from the Quality Service to Students Committee (QSS)

      The advice from QSS was received for information.
    2. Plans and Fees

      The Student Services Plans from the University of Toronto Mississauga was received for information. Members had no questions.
  5. Operating Plans and Fees - Student Experience and Wellness, University of Toronto Scarborough
    1. Advice from the Council on Student Services (CSS)

      The advice from CSS was received for information.
    2. Plans and Fees

      The Student Services Plans from the University of Toronto Scarborough was received for information. Members had no questions.
  6. Operating Plans and Fees - St. George Campus and University Wide Services

    Professor Stickel advised that the Protocol on Non-Tuition Fees provided that the Operating Plans and Fees for University-wide and St. George Campus services was first considered by COSS, whose advice would be conveyed to the University Affairs Board. Proposals for Student Life Programs and Services, the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education: Co-Curricular Programs, Services, and Facilities, and Hart House were considered by COSS. Professor Stickel thanked the Chair of COSS, Ms Susan Froom for her work in this role.
    1. Advice from the Council on Student Services (COSS)

      Ms Froom was invited to comment on the COSS advice. Ms. Froom reported that COSS voted in favour of all the operating plans and fee changes. Regarding Student Life, student members of COSS expressed some concern regarding a difficulty in becoming involved in advisory and oversight committees. She noted that while this had improved, COSS urged Student Life to continue to work in this manner and to look to Hart House as a model to emulate. Regarding Health & Wellness, COSS urged the Administration to seek other sources of funding (e.g., donations, government). There was also a recommendation to refer students to private counsellors that were covered by the Student Union health insurance. An issue of allocation of space for two societies was resolved with the assistance of Ms. Melisa Scott.
    2. Operating Plans and Fees: Student Life, St. George Campus

      Mr. David Newman offered a presentation on student life, programs and services. He noted the four areas within the Division of Student Life portfolio: Student Experience, Programs and Services, Health and Wellness and Global Learning and International Student Experience. Highlights of the presentation included:
      • 850+ online study hubs running during COVID-19, a 348% increase;
      • 59,164 visits by 12,615 students to the health clinic for primary care and mental health;
      • 21,307 TCard photos submitted virtually using MyPhoto tool;
      • 115.7K views on 24 Facebook Lives since March;
      • NAVI – over 14,000 interactions, 6,766 on-going conversations – assessment is planned;
      • Student Mental Health Web Portal – over 21,000 visits; MySSP saw 2,100 students with nearly 5,100 appointments, an increase of 300% usage; Peer Support Program – 52 sessions;
      • EDIA Initiatives (e.g., Women-Identified Social Autism Association, BIPOC Wellness Counsellor);
      • Indigenous Initiatives (e.g., Indigenous Career Intern, Indigenous Career Peer Advisor);
      • International Experience (e.g., immigration advising team increased from 1 to 4).

        He highlighted plans to develop a Student Life strategic plan, the development of a broader student advisory committee, expansion of peer programming initiatives, a resilience program, the continuation of support around student mental health and EDIA initiatives, and continued work in supporting student groups under the revised policy. He also provided highlights of the budget for 2021-22, noting less reliance on the student fee.

        Members had no questions regarding the operating plans and fees.

        On motion duly made, seconded and carried It was Resolved

        THAT the 2021-22 operating plans and budget for Student Life, as presented in the documentation from David Newman, Executive Director, Student Experience, be approved;

        THAT the Health & Counselling sessional fee for a full-time student on the St. George campus be increased to $83.92 ($16.78 for a part-time student), which represents a year-over-year increase of $2.45 ($0.49 for a part-time student) or 3.01%; and

        THAT the Student Services sessional fee for a full-time student on the St. George campus be increased to $100.79 ($20.16 for a part-time student), which represents a year-over-year increase of $1.92 ($0.38 for a part-time student) or 1.92%.
    3. Operating Plans and Fees: Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE): Co-Curricular Programs, Services and Facilities

      Ms Beth Ali, Executive Director of Co-Curricular Athletics & Physical Activity Programs, provided comments on behalf of Dean Ira Jacobs who sent his regrets, noting that the Dean of KPE was a voting, ex-officio member of the Board. Ms. Ali offered a presentation outlining the four priorities for sports and recreation, which included 1) mental and physical wellness, 2) equity, diversity and inclusion, 3) student engagement, and 4) future success.

      The presentation also detailed the many program offerings, the number of participants in those programs, as well as the 2021-22 budget plan.

      Members had no questions regarding the operating plans and fees.

      On motion duly made, seconded and carried It was Resolved

      THAT the 2021-22 operating plans and budget for the U of T Sport and Rec Programs, Services and Facilities at the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, as presented in the documentation from Beth Ali, Executive Director, Athletics and Co-curricular Physical Activity, be approved;

      THAT the sessional fee for a full-time student on the St. George campus be decreased to $196.71 ($39.34 for a part-time student), which represents a year-over-year decrease of $1.57 ($0.31 for a part-time student) or -0.79%; and

      THAT the sessional fee for a full-time student at UTM or UTSC be decreased to $22.82 ($4.56 for a part- time student), which represents a year-over-year decrease of $0.18 ($0.04 for a part-time student) or - 0.79%.
    4. Operating Plans and Fees: Hart House

      Mr Monahan, the Warden of Hart House, offered a presentation which outlined the pivot to virtual services during the pandemic, including access and outreach. He explained that over 90% of programming was moved to virtual delivery. Mr. Monahan outlined the 2021-22 budget and reported that Hart House continued to prioritize students first, noting that 2021-22 would be a year of recovery and rebuilding.

      A member commented on the positive changes regarding accessibility at Hart House.

      A member asked if the virtual programming would continue post-pandemic. Mr. Monahan responded by commenting that while an exact number was unclear, some virtual and hybrid programming would continue.

      On motion duly made, seconded and carried It was Resolved

      THAT the 2021-22 operating plans and budget for Hart House, as presented in the documentation from John Monahan, Warden, be approved;

      THAT the sessional fee for a full-time student on the St. George campus be increased to $107.49 ($21.50 for a part-time student), which represents a year-over-year increase of $2.06 ($0.41 for a part-time student) or 1.95%; and

      THAT the sessional fee for a full-time student at UTM or UTSC be increased to $3.30 ($0.67 for a part- time student), which represents a year-over-year increase of $0.07 ($0.02 for a part-time student) or 1.95%.
  7. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 221, January 19, 2021

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

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  9. Date of Next Meeting: April 22, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.

    The Chair confirmed the date of the next meeting was April 22, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.
  10. Other Business

    A member asked a question regarding the Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies (CRCSS) ruling on a matter pertaining to the Graduate Students’ Union. Professor Stickel first clarified the CRCSS purpose, and then reviewed the process and role of the CRCSS Chair and review panel. Referring to the case in question, Professor Stickel commented that the CRCSS panel did review the information provided, and he noted that it was important that the CRCSS consider what was articulated in a society’s own appeal process, as required by the Policy on Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees and consider if that appeal process had been utilized. He concluded by indicating that the CRCSS Chair determined that it was appropriate to form a review panel and proceed.


The meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.


March 18, 2021