Report: UTM Campus Council - January 24, 2023



JANUARY 24, 2023

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto

Your Council reports that it met on January 24, 2023 at 4:10 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Room 3130, W. G. Davis Building, with the following members present:

Ann Curran (in the Chair), Alexandra Gillespie (Vice-President & Principal), Hassaan Basit, Laura Cocuzzi, Rafael Chiuzi, Ivana Di Millo, Robert Gerlai, Shelley Hawrychuk, Sanja Hinic-Frlog, Karen Kwan Anderson, Asif Mohammed, Eha Naylor, Laura Taylor, Ryan Teschner, Ziyaad Vahed, Ron Wener, Kathleen Yu

Non-Voting Assessors:
Amrita Daniere (Interim Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), Deborah Brown (Chief Administrative Officer), Mark Overton (Assistant Principal, Student Services & Dean of Student Affairs)

Regrets: Jenny Cui, Crystal Cheng, Shashi Kant, Uday Dhingra, Rayan Hobeika, Hana Tariq

In Attendance:
Sandy Welsh (Vice-Provost, Students), Melinda Scott (Executive Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students), Brian Cunha (Director, Student Housing & Residence Life), Megan Evans (Assistant Director, Hospitality Operations), Brian Hoppie (Operations Manager, Parking & Transportation), Lorretta Neebar (Registrar), Andrea Urie (Assistant Dean, Student Wellness, Support & Success), Andrea de Vito (Director, Operations and Administration, Hospitality & Ancillary Services)

Cindy Ferencz Hammond (Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council)

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members to the third meeting of Council for the academic year.  She also provided an update on the governance elections.

    The Chair called on the Vice-President & Principal to share some sad news with the Council.  Professor Gillespie noted that Dario Di Censo, a longstanding member of Council had passed away on January 6th, after a brief illness.  She provided a brief description of his contributions to the University.  As a regular volunteer at UTM and UofT since 2004, Dario had made an enormously positive difference to the wellbeing of his alma mater.  He had found it especially rewarding to be involved in activities that enhanced the daily lives of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community at large at UTM.  First as a UTM student, then as an alumni volunteer, he was very proud of his connection to this institution and was eager to see UTM, in his words, "continue to grow and develop its reputation as a premier centre of higher learning with a truly global reach.”  Dario served the University of Toronto in many capacities: on the University of Toronto Alumni Association, the UTM Alumni Association, the Erindale College Council and its Executive Committee, the UTM Principal's Advisory Council, and since 2017, as a member of the UTM Campus Council, and its Campus Affairs Committee.  Throughout these volunteer activities, he continued to personally mentor students, which he found the most rewarding of all. Dario truly loved this campus and its students and was a deeply engaged volunteer, addressing topics of critical importance to students, with a special focus on student mental health.  The Vice-President and Principal noted that a letter of condolence would be shared with Dario’s family, on behalf of the UTM Campus Council.

  2. Report of the Vice-President and Principal

    The Vice-President and Principal began her report by referencing an article by Shauna Rempel from the Office of Communications, which had recently been published in U of T News about UTM’s twenty-two top moments of 2022.  Professor Gillespie framed her report in a complementary way by highlighting just eight of the 23 moments to anticipate in 2023, which aligned with the campus’ Defy Gravity Campaign Plan and the Strategic Framework, as follows:

    The Vice-President and Principal began her report by referencing an article by Shauna Rempel from the Office of Communications, which had recently been published in U of T News about UTM’s twenty-two top moments of 2022.  Professor Gillespie framed her report in a complementary way by highlighting eight of the 23 moments to anticipate in 2023, which aligned with the campus’ Defy Gravity Campaign Plan and the Strategic Framework, as follows:

    1. Collaborate with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation to host at UTM the All Nations Powwow. 
    2. Develop UTM's vision and advancement case for the future of robotics research, in collaboration with colleagues at U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering and Robotics Institute. 
    3. Support UTM's work connected to the new Humboldt Professorship in child and youth mental health. 
    4. Continue to implement the targets of UTM’s Sustainability Strategic Plan, including through new collaborations with the City of Mississauga.  
    5. Develop—and achieve governance approval for—a new UTM minor in Game Studies. 
    6. Hire the UTM-based Novo Nordisk Chair in Social and Environmental Determinants of Health. 
    7. Launch the Student Services Hub as a new first point-of-contact for holistic student support. 
    8. Complete UTM’s Science Building as one of the most energy efficient lab spaces in North America.  

In response to a member’s question about UTM’s plans to uplift the humanities, Professor Gillespie pointed to the proposed Game Studies Minor, which would be based in the Department of English & Drama; to UTM’s Hidden Stories project on the history of books, generously funded by the Mellon Foundation; to UTM’s new Global Past project on premodern material history, supported by a Connaught Challenge Grant; and to new advancement activities for work in digital and South Asian critical humanities, among many other projects.  

Professor Gillespie then invited Andrea Urie, Assistant Dean, Student Wellness, Support & Success to present.

During her presentation, she shared the following insights:

  • Student achievement and well-being were directly influenced by student engagement in curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, leading to reported feelings of increased motivation, a sense of satisfaction and meaning in their university experience.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted education systems across the world, cutting off in-person engagement, and upon re-opening and the return to in person learning and engagement, measures such as physical distancing, isolation and movement restrictions further impeded the ability of students, faculty and staff to engage as before.
  • Navigating online learning and hybrid learning, while trying to create environments of engagement, had been both challenging and exciting.
  • Observations from the portfolio on how students responded during the pandemic and post pandemic included:
    • during the pandemic, many students had limited access to health care for regular primary care needs, sexual health needs and medication management needs.
    • since returning to campus, UTM had seen an increase in health appointments in its Health & Counselling Centre (HCC).
    • While an increase in mental health appointments was expected, there has also been a pressing need for primary care health appointments, addressing issues such as sexual health needs, medication management, accessibility registrations, and general health practitioner concerns.
    • Students who participated in counseling and mental health appointments were expressing feelings of isolation, lack of social connection and lack of engagement.
    • During the pandemic, students with disabilities accessed technologies that otherwise were not available pre-pandemic, and managed their disabilities in environments in which they had less change and a greater sense of control.
    • Upon their return to campus, UTM has seen an increase in registrations for academic accommodations, with accessibility services, particularly for mental illness as the primary accommodation need.  There was also a dramatic increase in disability symptoms and difficulties returning to in-person learning, especially with respect to crisis or behavioral management needs.
    • U of T ensured that students were connected with partners who could provide service to international students, since unless a student was residing in Ontario, many professionals associated with the university could not provide service.
    • Domestic students who did take advantage of the resources available to them in health centers also had challenges such as finding quiet confidential spaces in order to engage in their counseling sessions.
    • Since the return to campus, UTM has seen a slightly higher number of concerns related to student behavior, which may be attributed to the virtual environment being very different than an in-person environment and the somewhat more curt or inappropriate way in which interactions through technology may have been conducted.
    • Social behaviors needed to be re-learned following two years of isolation and interactions primarily through technology.
  • In response to these observations, the HCC created a variety of health supports, including the ability to easily accessing vaccinations, increased peer engagement, weekly wellness opportunities to support learning and success and welcoming back the annual in person resource and activity fair, Be Well UTM, which engaged students and service providers throughout Peel and Halton regions.
  • With respect to Accessibility Services, the focus has been to ease the transition to returning to in person learning through peer mentoring learning communities and continuing to advocate and support students who required technology as part of their academic accommodations.
  • Staff were also working closely with faculty to support students.
  • Learning opportunities for faculty and staff, who were often frontline, had been developed and would continue to be offered.
  • The HCC also offered same day appointments and one at a time sessions to assist students in identifying the most pressing need and providing them with resources and strategies for effective coping and management.
  • The range of offerings included peer support to professional support programs in nutrition mindfulness, activity and general care.
  • The HCC launched an online referral consultation form for UTM staff and faculty; upon receipt of the referral, the team worked closely with department chairs, faculty, and staff to navigate the challenges and to ensure that appropriate resources and support were provided.
  • The team also worked to ensure that support was provided to the faculty and staff members who were seeking this consultation.
  • Feedback from students had been that they felt that UTM had created a campus of care.

    To conclude her presentation, Ms Urie expressed her gratitude to the many faculty and staff who were committed to student well-being and resilience.  She specifically acknowledged the work of Dr. Erin Kraftcheck, Medical Director of the HCC and Elizabeth Martin, Director of Accessibility Services, who provided invaluable leadership in this regard. 
  1. Enrolment Update

    The Chair invited Lorretta Neebar, Registrar and Director of Enrolment Management, to give a presentation on enrolment.

    Ms Neebar included the following points during her presentation:

  • Enrolment targets were not met this year for new intake.
  • Just over 30% of UTM students are international.
  • Insights about new intake included:
    • since 2020, experienced big fluctuations in enrollment, as a result of the pandemic, and yield continued to be difficult to predict.
    • There were 3400 new students this year, and UTM fell short of targets by about 100 domestic and about 400 international students.
    • This decrease was not due to decreased demand; UTM consciously gave out fewer offers considering the over enrolment last year, particularly in international high schools and in high demand programs.
    • Focus had been on reducing pressure in areas where UTM was oversubscribed, including in computer science, life sciences, forensic science and commerce and management.
    • Experiencing uncertainty and an unexpectedly reduced number of students in the domestic international pool, who come to UTM from a Canadian high school, typically in Ontario.
    • Students were applying to more and more institutions globally.
    • UTM drew from a diverse pool of international students by country.
    • Admission averages had increased significantly, with an average of 89%.
    • Dean’s list and UTM’s graduation rates continued to rise.
    • Dramatic increase in the number of students who accepted UTM’s offer who were eligible for scholarships.
    • Increase in those who qualified for high impact international scholarships.
    • With respect to new intake by admission stream, returned to a proportion experienced pre pandemic, with computer sciences, mathematics and statistics not at the top.
  • The Office of the Registrar was working very closely with several partners on campus and through the tri-campus system to monitor, analyze and continue to address the recent major fluctuations.
  • November 2022 saw 492 graduates, and June we saw a record number of graduating students at 2458.
  • Graduation rates at the four-, five- and six-year mark had increased by a few percentages each year.

    During discussion, the following points were raised:

  • The pool of international students coming from Ontario high schools had decreased since the pandemic.
  • Recruitment at UofT was a across the tri-campus, with a very coordinated and collaborative effort. Recruitment efforts included visits to specifically targeted countries, high schools, hosting events in local hotels, virtual events, and varied depending on the market.
  • Once admission offers were sent, teams of individuals from divisions engaged with families in variety of in person and virtual events to discuss the next steps in the process and to offer help with immigration questions.
  • The tools and channels to help with yield and conversion of offers of admission were continuously developed; also working on alignment with Alumni for recruitment events and yield/post-offer activities.
  • It was difficult to monitor any grade inflation because a study of the topic would have to follow an instructor and the average grade students received in a particular course.
  1. Revisions to the University Mandated Leave Policy

    The Chair called on Professor Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost Students to present the item.  Professor Welsh began her presentation, by providing a brief history of Policy and its application, noting that it was initially developed in response to concerns raised by the University Ombudsperson about the university's ability to address student behaviours during periods of extreme distress.  The Policy was first approved by the Governing Council in 2018 and a review was initiated in 2021.  Professor Welsh noted that between 2018 and 2022, the Policy was invoked a total of 17 times, and that as of the fall of 2022, seven of those students had returned to their studies.  Professor Welsh stressed that there had been no cases Policy in which a referral had been received based on a student's disclosure to a health centres or from accessibility services; in all cases it was the students’ behavior which prompted the concern, specifically behaviour which threatened the health or safety of other members of the U of T community.  She added that the intention of the policy was to provide compassionate and non punitive options for students who were exhibiting serious and concerning behavior and could benefit from time away from their studies to engage with supports or other assistance while also fulfilling the University’s duty to protect the health and safety of all members of the university community.

    Moving to the review of the Policy, which began in February 2021, Professor Welsh noted that consultations included the following:  four open town halls, meetings with student societies and other student organizations, five open student consultations led by the Innovation Hub, staff and faculty across all three campuses, and the University Ombudsperson. In addition, an online consultation site was open to all members of the University community from March 1, to November 30, 2021.  The feedback from the review was then distilled into major themes and presented to governance bodies in the fall of 2021 and all the recommendations were accepted by the University.  The draft Policy revisions were also shared with two external experts in Human Rights Law and Psychiatry and their feedback was that the draft Policy was largely consistent with and implemented the University’s human rights obligations and appropriately addressed issues with respect to students affected by mental illness, including engagement in clinical care, and that revised language to clarify the University’s responsibilities and obligations was aligned with best practices in mental health.

    Professor Welsh then detailed the Policy revisions (both from the initial review and external expert consultations), as summarized below:

  • Renaming the Policy to more accurately reflect its purpose and the options contained within the Policy.
  • Restricting mandated leaves only to those cases where a student is posing a harm to others or actively interfering with the educational experience of fellow students, and all other options for reasonable accommodations have been exhausted.
  • Reinforcing the University’s obligation to provide necessary accommodations up to the point of undue hardship.
  • Clarifying language within the Policy to communicate what actions on the part of the University are mandatory versus discretionary.

    Professor Welsh then addressed resources and supports to the Policy, which the University was implementing.  She noted that through the work of the Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health, the University continued to enhance student mental health resources.  Specifically, health and counseling centres across the three campuses had redesigned their approach to student counseling support to eliminate wait times to speak to a counselor and to allow for same day or next day appointments in most cases.  The University had also established a partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) which assisted students who accessed care through CAMH with their return to campus by connecting them with appropriate university and community based resources.  In August of 2022, the University also welcomed Christina Bartha as Senior Executive Director, Student Mental Health Systems, Policy and Strategy, in a newly established tri-campus role, which would provide strategic oversight and vision in support of the university's efforts to enhance services for students needing mental health supports.  The University would also work with student case managers, where appropriate an in line with privacy legislations, to consider how additional external cultural and/or family supports may be added for students placed on leave. The University would provide additional guidance to division heads with regards to the Policy and its application, and track and report on additional data related to the Policy, including aggregate demographic data.

    Professor Welsh concluded her presentation by noting that the overarching goal of the proposed changes was to reinforce the compassionate intent of this Policy and reduce or eliminate any outstanding concerns that it would inadvertently pose a barrier to any student accessing mental health services.   

    A member thanked Professor Welsh for the comprehensive presentation and remarked that he thought the Policy had been much misunderstood in the past; he asked what plans would be put in place to communicate these revisions to the Policy throughout the U of T community. Professor Welsh explained that to address any misunderstanding about the revisions, her team was working on a companion guide to the Policy and to that end, would be engaging with all the appropriate stakeholders, especially student societies, who were often the best partners in communicating to other students.   The companion guide and the revisions to the Policy would also be disseminated through various committees and health centres, division heads, Registrars and Deans of Students, and others who played important supporting roles to students.  
  1. Operating Plans: Service Ancillaries for 2023-24

    The Chair invited Deborah Brown, Chief Administrative Officer, to introduce the item.  Ms Brown noted that Service Ancillaries at U of T were measured over the long-term on their success in meeting Service Ancillary Reporting Group (SARG) objectives. Ancillaries received no subsidy from the UTM Operating budget, had to provide for sustainable capital renewal including deferred maintenance, and maintain a 10% operating reserve.  She reported that at UTM, the ancillaries re-invested all positive net results to provide improved facilities, equipment and services to students, faculty and staff. Ms Brown further explained that the rising costs of food, construction and overall inflation had an impact at UTM, similarly to all other universities. She expressed her thanks to students, faculty and staff who participated in the consultations for these ancillary budgets. 

    The CAO then invited Antonia Lo, Director, Student Services and Ancillaries, Hospitality & Ancillary Services, Brian Cunha, Director, Student Housing & Residence Life, and Andrea DeVito, Director, Operations & Administration, to provide details on the proposed ancillary budgets.

    During their presentation, they shared the following information:

  • In Student Housing & Residence Life, the prior year actuals included net operating results before transfers of $1.9 million and the $4.9 million transfer out represented a return of funds previously reflected as transfers in from the UTM operating budget for the new residence construction project.
  • The current year's forecast anticipated a net operating loss of $1.4 million which was consistent with the budget; the budgeted net operating loss was largely attributed to the cost of the townhouse renovations; for the 2023-24 budget the ancillary was anticipating a $1.3 million net operating loss, which again was primarily the result of the cost of another significant renovation of existing residence buildings.
  • In Hospitality Services, the prior actuals included a net operating loss of 946,000 attributed to the reduced level of activity on campus; the current year forecast was anticipating a small net operating profit rounded up to $3000; the ancillary was planning for an almost full return to pre-pandemic levels of operation.
  • In Parking Services, the prior actuals included a $1,000,000 net operating loss before transfers as a result of the significantly lower than normal level of parking sales due to the continued work from home and hybrid learning arrangements; like the other ancillaries, the 2021-22 actuals were more favorable than what was previously forecast; for the current year forecast, the ancillary was anticipating a return to positive net operating results of $963,000 in each of the years shown.
  • The Ancillary budget consultation process comprised of several meetings each in the fall of 2022, and included the Student Housing Advisory Committee, the Food Services Advisory Committee, the Resident Student Dining Committee, and the Transportation & Parking Advisory Committee.
  • Residence had completed a price comparison of housing rates to partners on the St. George and UTSC campuses, other universities in Ontario and off campus housing rates in Peel.
  • Proposed residence rate increases for 2023-24 were higher than previously to make a correction for the inflated costs of goods and services and some of the extensive renovations undertaken.
  • A rate increase of 8.75% was proposed in most residence areas; graduate medicine and family residence student increases were kept to 5.5% based on the feedback through consultation.
  • For Hospitality and Food Services, the recent Canada Food Report and the Vector Institute predicted a 5 to 7% inflation in food prices; UTM was proposing a 6.7% food price increase and a 6.8% increase in the Basic meal plan (no change was proposed for Flex).  The overall average meal plan cost was proposed to increase by 6.1%.
  • For Parking, the ancillary was looking to contribute to the construction reserve in 2025-26 in order to explore viable parking building sites to offset future loss of existing surface parking; the ancillary was exploring the purchase of a license plate recognition system and increasing the charging ports to 12 for electric vehicles (EV) on campus.  Parking was proposing a 2% increase for P4/P8 permit types and 3% for all others. There was no increase proposed for Pay & Display rates.

    In response to a member’s question, Mr. Cunha described living learning communities (LLC) in residences, noting that each LLC had approximately 20-40 students living with other students who shared similar interests and areas of study and who were enrolled in at least one course together. These students also lived alongside an upper year student who supported them during their time in residence and provided opportunities throughout the year to help LLC students make friends and achieve academic success.  LLCs were also provided with experiential opportunities to build on learning experiences beyond the classroom through collaborative programming with campus services, partnerships with faculty and academic departments, and field trips in the Greater Toronto Area.


    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


    THAT Subject to Executive Committee Confirmation,

    THAT, the proposed 2023-24 Operating Plans and Budgets for the UTM Service Ancillaries, as summarized in Schedule 1, the service ancillary capital budgets as summarized in Schedule 5, and the rates and fees in Schedule 6, in the proposal dated December 2, 2022, be approved, effective May 1, 2023.

  1. Reports of the Presidential Assessors: Update on the development of the 2022-23 Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees

    At the invitation of the Chair, Mark Overton, Dean of Students provided an update on recent work in the development of the 2022-23 Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees.

    Mr. Overton noted that at the Council’s next meeting, he would be bringing forward the advice of UTM’s Quality Service to Students committee (QSS), which provided student governments with opportunities whether to support proposed increases to non-academic incidental fees that partially or fully funded student services, such as the Health & Counselling Centre, the Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre, the intercampus Shuttle Service, the Career Centre, the International Education Centre, the Centre for Student Engagement and others. He explained that these consultation processes included multiple open advisory groups convened by each services’ directors and managers on what they offered and their impacts, what’s proposed for the coming year, and any related changes in fees with intent of gathering feedback from both undergraduate and graduate student government representatives. He showed a summary of the proposed fees to be brought forward at the next CAC meeting, noting that the proposed fees compared favourably to those offered across the tri-campus.


On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 9 - Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.

  1. Report on Capital Projects – as at November 30, 2022
  2. Reports for Information
    1. Report 57 of the Agenda Committee (January 16, 2023)
    2. Report 56 of the Campus Affairs Committee (January 10, 2023)
    3. Report 48 of the Academic Affairs Committee (January 11, 2023)
  3. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 56 – November 16, 2022
    The report of the pervious meeting was approved.


  4. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
  5. Date of Next Meeting – March 7, 2023 at 4:10 p.m.
  6. Question Period
    No further questions were raised by members.
  7. Other Business
    There was no other business.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:58 p.m.

January 31, 2023