Report: University Affairs Board - October 12, 2022

Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall, 2nd floor


October 12, 2022

To the Governing Council,

University of Toronto

Your Board reports that it met on Wednesday, October 12, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber with the following members present:


Vikram Chadalawada (Chair), Geeta Yadav (Vice-Chair), Sandy Welsh (Vice-Provost, Students), David Newman (Executive Director, Student Experience), Faraz Alidina, Neil Chakraborty, Susan Froom, K. Sonu Gaind,Mathangi Gopinathan*, Summer Hart, Syeda Hasan*, Natasha Hanif, Madeline Kalda*, Gretchen Kerr*, Kikelomo Lawal, John Monahan, Ana Kanza Tariq, David Walter Zingg

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)


Kelly Hannah-Moffat (Vice-President, People Services, Equity and Culture), Matthew Armand Benoit, Christine E. Burke, Tarun Dewan, Robert T. Gerlai, Farhana Islam, Jessica Johnson, Dave Lehto, Ron Levi, Clayon Levy, Anne E. MacDonald, Cheryl Regehr, Ron Saporta


Joanne Chou

Guests in Attendance:

Ann Perry, University of Toronto Communications

(*attended remotely)

  1. Chair’s Opening Remarks

    The Chair introduced himself and welcomed new and returning members to thefirst meeting of the 2022-23 academic year. He introduced the Vice-Chair, Dr. Geeta Yadav, Professor Sandy Welsh, the Senior Assessor, as well as David Newman, the Voting Assessor to the Board.

  2. Reports of the Senior Assessor

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students, offered updates on the following matters:

    Biggest Back to School Ever

    Professor Welsh began her report by reaffirming the University’s priority to see a safe return to campus for in-person learning as welcoming, supportive, and as safely as possible. She noted the excitement and energy on campus with many students returning to in-person learning and campus life. She highlighted that in-person activity was critical to effective learning and for students’ mental health and well-being and was the goal across the continuum of education in Ontario. Professor Welsh thanked every member of the community for their hard work and collective effort to the well-being of students and the mission of the University. 

    She noted the remarkable levels of student engagement across the three campuses, and spoke about specific initiatives that included:

    • Welcome Events hosted by numerous groups that included Divisions, UTSC, UTM and St. George, such as student club and career fairs, and Hart House’s open house BBQ to name a few.
    • ASKme booths placed in key spots had responded to a record number of questions in the first week.
    • At UTM, over 3,100 students participated in pre-arrival or orientation programs that engaged diverse groups, such as Black Excellence Orientation, Queer Orientation and Parents & Families.
    • Significant participation in sessions across the tri-campus such as the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Center, Centre for International Experience, and lab safety training.
    • Back-to schoolsupports wereexpanded with online resources such as videos, virtual campus tours and maps to introduce students to campus life and highlighted the University’s beautiful places and spaces.
    • The University’s social media had strong community engagement through #UofTBackToSchool and #Utogether hashtags, and the first-ever tri-campus social media scavenger hunt will be launched in coming weeks.

    Update Regarding Student Life and Student Affairs Spaces

    Professor Welsh noted the importance of student spaces and places and provided updates on several construction and renovation projects underway across the three campuses. These projects were focused on improving spaces dedicated to student wellbeing. She highlighted several projects:

    • The St. George Campus Health & Wellness Centre, where the renovated space would bring Health & Wellness services together and tailored to meet student needs.
    • To accommodate the renovations and ensure continuity of supports, services such as Academic Success, Career Exploration & Education, Housing Service, Student Success and the TCard Office had moved to 800 Bay Street.
    • The Family Care Office had temporarily relocated to 215 Huron, and a planned relocation for Health and Wellness Center scheduled in November to 700 Bay Street.
    • Various communication channels that included a website were created to keep students informed of the renovations and new locations with success.
    • UTM’s new Student Services Hub would bring together several student affairs groups, such as the International Education Centre, Career Centre and Accessibility Services. It is scheduled to open for summer 2023.
    • UTSC’s new residence building will feature 750 beds, many spaces to accommodate student needs, and on track for Fall 2023 completion.

    Menstrual Products

    Professor Welsh then provided an update on free menstrual product pilot that was launched to provide free menstrual products to the U of T community at St. George. Launched in collaboration with Facilities & Services, this project was expanded to UTM and UTSC campuses, and was embedded in the university’s operational services. She noted that as of March 2022, 75 washrooms across seven buildings on the St. George campus offered free menstrual products and included in the UofT map. For the Fall term, three more building locations were added, for a total of 10 buildings and 86 washrooms.Considerations to expand the project included exploring the need to have units and products available in men’s washrooms. The Sexual & Gender Diversity Office (SGDO) conducted a short survey and hosted focus groups to engage community groups to help determine the best approach with project leads.

    Professor Welsh expressed her appreciation to the student leaders and the Facilities & Services staff that launched and oversee the continuity of this project. She underscored the importance of providing equitable access to menstrual products as an important step toward to ensuring a more inclusive and welcoming community.

    Review of the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment

    Professor Welsh noted two polices considered for revisions, the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, and the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy. She noted that in 2021, the University initiated a review that was co-chaired by the Dean of the Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and the Director of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office. Through an extensive consultation process, approximately 700 members of the University community participated over a nine-month period. In July 2022, the University accepted all recommendations and revisions to the Policy were reviewed and incorporated as appropriate. It is anticipated that the revised Policy would be presented to governance in cycle 2.

    Review of the University-Mandated leave of Absence Policy

    Professor Welsh shared that in March 2021, the Provost initiated a review of this policy in alignment with Section 79 of the Policy which required that it be reviewed in its third year. The review was led by Professor Donald Ainslie of the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts and Science and former Principal of University College, and Varsha Patel, Assistant Dean of Student Success and Career Support, University of Toronto Scarborough. Following an extensive consultation process that extended from Spring 2021 to Fall 2021, the University engaged external reviewers with expertise in clinical Psychiatry and Human Rights Law that considered a series of proposed Policy changes informed by the recommendations of the review.Following the review, the feedback from the reviewers was incorporated into the proposed Policy revisions to be presented at governance later in the year.

    Finally, Professor Welsh concluded her report by acknowledging and thanking John Monahan’s transformational leadership, dedication, and commitment to the University community as Warden of Hart House.

    In the discussion that followed, it was noted that:

    • In relation to COVID-19, the University was committed to providing ongoing supports for students across the three campuses, such as students in residence where the university ensures spaces are provided for students to isolate should they become ill. The University would continue to follow any guidelines, recommended, or required by health authorities.
    • With the current academic year underway, many academic programs and units had returned to in-person learning.Divisions and academic units determined the best approach to teaching and learning and were dedicated to maintaining an exceptional in-person experience. The Utogether website was created to connect to the community resources available to students, faculty members, staff, and librarians.
    • The university provided supports for all students that arrived to Canada to pursue their academic studies and highlighted dedicated international student immigration advisors through the Centre for International Experience that offered guidance and advice for the visa process. The university collaborated with the government for ongoing guidance and information.
  3. Discussion: Board Orientation

    The Chair referred members to the orientation videos which had been provided to members in advance of the meeting. One of the videos described the unicameral structure of the University, while the other was designed to provide an overview of the University Affairs Board. He encouraged members who had not yet had the chance to view the videos to do so.

    Professor Welsh noted that throughout the year, a number of items from the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students, would be brought forward to the Board during the year.

  4. Summer Executive Authority: Annual Report on UAB Approvals

    The Chair reported that there were no approvals under Summer Executive Authority that were within the purview of the University Affairs Board.

  5. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 229, June 1, 2022

    The report of the previous meeting was approved.

  6. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

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

  7. Calendar of Business

    The Chair referred members to the Calendar of Business located on the Office of the Governing Council’s website and advised that the document would be updated by the Secretariat regularly as business came forward. He encouraged members to review the Calendar on a regular basis.

  8. Date of the Next Meeting: Tuesday, November 22, 2022

    The Chair confirmed that the next meeting would be held on November 22, 2022 in the Council Chamber.

  9. Other Business

    There were no items of other business.

    The Board moved in camera

  10. Appointment: Chair, Council on Student Services, 2022-23

    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

    It was Resolved

    THAT Justin Patrick be appointed chair of the Council on Student Services, effective

    immediately and until April 30, 2023.

  11. Appointment: Interim Warden, Hart House

    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

    It was Resolved

    THAT Sherry Kulman be appointed Interim Warden, Hart House for a term beginning

    October 17, 2022, until January 31, 2023.

The meeting adjourned at 5:40 p.m.

October 12, 2022