Report: University Affairs Board - September 26, 2019

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


Thursday September 26, 2019

To the Governing Council
University of Toronto

Your Board reports that it met on Thursday, September 26, 2019, 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, Mark Lautens, Clayon Levy, Joseph Leydon, John F. Monahan, Sandhya Mylabathula, David Newman, Tayyab Rashid, Stephanie Rose, Gurvir Sangha, Mark Seymour, Daman Singh

Non-Voting Assessors:
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity, Anne Macdonald. Assistant Vice-President, Ancillary Services. Meredith Strong, Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Student and Student Policy Advisor, Desmond Pouyat, Dean, Student Affairs, UTSC

In Attendance:
Allison Burgess, Sexual & Gender Diversity Officer, Office of the Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity (VPHRE), Nora Lozano Special Projects and Administrative Officer, VPHRE, Rosalyn Figov Chief Operations Officer, VPHRE, David Pereira, Sexual & Gender Diversity Officer, VPHRE, Francesca Dobbin,  Director, Family Programs & Services VPHREBen Poynton, Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities (AODA) Officer, Angela Treglia, Director, Sexual Violence Prevention & Support, VPHRE

David Walders (Secretary)

Harvey Botting, Andrew Girgis, Jayde Jones, Ron Levi


1.   Chair’s Welcome and Opening Remarks

The Chair welcomed members and guests to the first meeting of the University Affairs Board for the 2019-20 governance year, and invited them to introduce themselves.

2.   Orientation to the Board

The Chair provided an overview of the composition, role and responsibility of the Board and its members. Professor Welsh then offered a presentation, appended here, which included an overview of her portfolio and priorities for 2019-20. These included consultations on the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, the Presidential and Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health Outreach & Engagement Plan as well as provincial government ancillary fee changes.

Members asked questions regarding the changes in ancillary fees, particularly the student opt-out policy. In reply, Professor Welsh noted that the student opt-out portal had just closed and, following analysis, more  information would be provided to the Board regarding specific fees.  Similarly, comparative analysis had not yet been conducted to assess opt out rates from other Ontario universities as compared to those at U of T.  Finally, a member noted the importance of assessing the year of study of students who opted out as a metric to gauge student engagement and awareness of ancillary services. Professor Welsh noted that this would be considered in the analysis. 

The Chair thanked Professor Welsh for the presentation.

3.   Calendar of Business: 2019-20

The calendar of business was provided for information.

4.   Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Report, 2017-18

Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat noted that the structure and approach to the Report had been reimagined (the Report was formerly called the Equity, Diversity and Excellence Report), to give a wider overview of initiatives being undertaken at the University. She then offered a presentation, appended here, which highlighted several of these initiatives, including those being undertaken by departments that report directly to her office and those being undertaken in the community more generally. 

Members asked questions concerning initiatives for indigenous students and staff as well as whether training for staff regarding both AODA and sexual violence education and prevention was mandatory. A member also suggested the need for greater analysis of the effects of equality and diversity initiatives on target groups.

In reply, Professor Hannah-Moffat noted that while improvements had been made regarding the recruitment of Indigenous staff and students, initiatives continued on recruiting indigenous students and staff.  Turning to staff training, Professor Hannah-Moffat, while AODA and sexual violence education and prevention was not, at present, mandatory for all members of our community, significant efforts have been made to encourage all employees to partake.  Supervisors were encouraged to make the training known to their employees and had the option of making the training mandatory.  In terms of students, Professor Welsh noted that various student groups had incorporated the training as part of the on-boarding process for leadership positions.

Finally, in terms of examining the impact of programs on targeted groups, Professor Hannah-Moffat noted that the suggestion would be taken under advisement for inclusion in future reports.

The Chair thanked Professor Hannah-Moffat for the presentation.

5.   Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Spadina Sussex Residence

Ms Anne MacDonald provided a presentation of the Report which provided key information on the vision of the project, timelines for completion, as well as how the capital project would address residence demands of both first year and upper year students.

Members asked questions regarding the site plan, including development plans for Robert Street Field, traffic concerns, the heritage designation of 698 Spadina, as well as housing for low-income students and students with disabilities.

Regarding the Roberts Street Field, Professor Mabury noted that, as a result of a mediated settlement, a community field would be established on the south-west corner of the field. The University was open to exploring a variety of possible development options on the remaining portions of the field.  In addition, a geothermal field was being proposed underneath the field.  If approved, ¼ of the energy output would be used for the residence building with the remaining ¾ being used for the energy demands of the rest of the university. Regarding traffic concerns, Ms MacDonald noted that this was being taken into consideration. With respect to the heritage designation of 698 Spadina, Professor Mabury noted that, owing to the designation, there had been full retention and incorporation of the building into the new site plan.

Finally, Professor Welsh referred to both the first year residence guarantee and the financial aid programs (Ontario Student Assistance Program and the University of Toronto Advanced Planning for Students), which provided assistance to students to offset both tuition and residence costs.  Ms MacDonald noted that the proposed project was being built to ensure operating costs would be as low as possible. Regarding students with disabilities, she confirmed that there would be accessible residence rooms on each residential floor of the building and that all common areas would be accessible.

On motion duly made, seconded and carried

It was Resolved

THAT the University Affairs Board concur with the prospective recommendation of the Academic Board

THAT the Project Planning Committee Report for the Spadina Sussex Residence, dated August 30, 2019, be approved in principle; and,

THAT the project totaling 19,328 gross square metres (gsm), be approved in principle, to be funded by University Provostial Funds, Daniels Corporation, and financing.

The Chair thanked Ms MacDonald or the presentation.

6.   Summer Executive Authority: Annual Report on UAB Approvals
The chair reported that there were no approvals taken under Summer Executive Authority within the purview of UAB.

7.   Report of the Previous Meeting – Report 212, May 23, 2019
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.   Report of the Senior Assessor 
Professor Welsh provided an update on the release of new guidelines for service animals on all three campuses. These provided guidance on how community members wishing to be accompanied by service animals could do so.

10.   Date of Next Meeting: November 13, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. 
The Chair confirmed that the date of the next meeting would be November 13, 2019.

11.   Other Business 
There were no items of other business.

The Board moved in camera.

12.   Capital Project: Spadina Sussex Residence – Total Project Cost and Sources of Funding
On motion duly made, seconded and carried,

It was Resolved

THAT the total project cost and sources of funding for the Spadina Sussex Residence, as outlined in the memorandum from Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships  dated September 19, 2019, be approved.

13.   Appointment: University Affairs Board Striking Committee, 2019-20
On motion duly made, seconded and carried,

It was Resolved 

THAT the following be appointed to the University Affairs Board Striking Committee for 2019-20: 

     Ms. Catherine Bragg (Lieutenant Governor in Council) 

     Mr Harvey Botting (alumni) 

     Professor Avrum Gotlieb (teaching staff) 

     Mr. P.C. Choo (administrative staff) 

     Ms Sandhya Mylabathula (student) 

The meeting adjourned at 6:41 p.m.