Report: UTM Campus Council - November 16, 2022



NOVEMBER 16, 2022

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto

Your Council reports that it met on November 16, 2022 at 4:10p.m. in the Council Chamber, Room 3130, W. G. Davis Building, with the following members present:

Shashi Kant (Chair), Ann Curran (Vice-Chair), Alexandra Gillespie (Vice-President & Principal), Crystal Cheng, Rafael Chiuzi, Ivana Di Millo, Sheree Drummond (non-voting), Robert Gerlai, Shelley Hawrychuk, Sanja Hinic-Frlog, Karen Kwan Anderson, Asif Mohammed, Eha Naylor, Hana Tariq, Laura Taylor, Ryan Teschner, Ziyaad Vahed, Ron Wener, Kathleen Y

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

Regrets: Hassaan Basit, Deborah Brown (CAO), Laura Cocuzzi, Uday Dhingra, Rayan Hobeika

In Attendance:
Luke Barber (Executive Director, Digital & Physical Infrastructure), Brian Cunha (Director, Student Housing & Residence Life), Jeff Espie (Director, Vice-Presidential Communications, Office of the Vice-President & Principal), Christine Esteban (Director, Budget, Planning & Finance), Heather Hines (Director of Office, Office of the Vice-President & Principal), Brian Hoppie (Operations Manager, Parking & Transportation), Vicky Jezierski (Director, Hospitality & Ancillary Services), Bruce Kidd (Professor Emeritus, University Ombudsperson), Felicity Morgan (Director, Career Centre), Melinda Scott (Executive Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students), Sandy Welsh (Vice-Provost, Students),

Cindy Ferencz Hammond (Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council)

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members to the second meeting of Council for the academic year. He also provided an overview of the available positions for the UTM governance bodies for 2023. He noted that invitations had been sent out to two governance information sessions conducted by Ms Cindy Ferencz-Hammond, the Deputy Returning Officer, which were scheduled for Tuesday, November 22 at 12:30 p.m. and Monday, November 28 at 11 a.m. He encouraged those interested in participating in university governance to attend these sessions.
  2. Report of the Vice-President and Principal

    Professor Gillespie began her report by noting that because of the increased spread of respiratory viruses the University would be issuing clear communications about various strategies it was taking to help slow the spread of these illnesses and to keep members of its community safe. There would be emphasis on the importance of vaccination, and those feeling unwell would be encouraged to stay home. UTM would also be talking to managers, Chairs, and faculty about how to accommodate absences in the workforce and in the classroom due to increased levels of illness. In addition, using medical masks was strongly recommended in group settings where physical distancing was not possible; Professor Gillespie pointed to the availability of mask dispensers in convenient places throughout the campus. Professor Gillespie also reminded members of the University’s enhanced cleaning measures and the state-of-the-art ventilation systems

    The Vice-President & Principal continued her report by expressing her pleasure at hosting recent convocation ceremonies at Convocation Hall and being able to celebrate with graduates in person. The convocation procession was led by Tee Duke, UTM’s Director of Indigenous Initiatives, as eagle feather bearer. She congratulated UTM’s graduates who had earned their degrees from Canada’s top university and second among North American public universities.

    Professor Gillespie noted that she had the privilege of recently hosting the UTM Alumni Awards of Distinction, where UTM and U of T alumna Eugenia Addy (née Duodu) won the Desmond Parker Outstanding Young Alumni Award.  In her role as CEO of Visions of Science, Dr. Addy led the non-profit organization in facilitating community-based STEM youth engagement, strengthening youth support networks, and advocating for broader systems change by creating equitable access to education in science, technology, engineering and math.  In her acceptance speech, Dr. Addy talked about UTM being a special place of belonging as soon as she visited the campus.

    Professor Gillespie concluded her report by introducing Mark Overton, Dean of Student Affairs and his presentation about program supports and collaborations to foster student success and belonging. She noted that the presentation signaled that future governance reports would focus more on measuring the impact of programs and sharing student focused metrics and experiences.

    Mr. Overton, Assistant Principal, Student Services & Dean of Student Affairs, and Felicity Morgan, Director, Career Centre, highlighted how UTM was working to increase wellness, connections, belonging and the physical environment.

    Mr. Overton reported that UTM was offering mental health support toward greater inclusion and belonging of all students on campus. The Health & Counselling Centre was expanding its large range of mental health supports as an example. Offerings were made under a model called stepped care, which was a student centric and personalized approach enabling each student to direct their own care to the best of their ability with navigational guidance provided by professional staff as needed. Options ranged from the provision of resources so that students could build their mental health literacy to talking with peer supporters to working with a coaches or using a guided app to attending a workshop or a therapeutic group to meeting one-on-one with the healthcare professional. The model offered very timely access to care, typically on the same day. Alternative prescriptions to wellness were also offered, where campus healthcare providers could prescribe fitness programs and activities to manage stress and anxiety, the largest drivers of seeking help. Other mental health enhancing offerings include Accessibility Services accommodations for UTM students with diagnosed mental health disabilities. and co-located counselling in select areas, and programs offered by Recreation, Athletics & Wellness, and others.

    Mr. Overton explained that 56% of new UTM students who responded to this summer’s Before College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) indicated they anticipated starting at UTM without having a pre-existing friend at the campus. In order to foster connections and address this, UTM’s Centre for Student Engagement emphasized pre-orientation & orientation, utmONE transition courses, the Launch mentorship program, and more. Additional targeted efforts were undertaken by Student Housing & Residence Life, UTMSU, International Education Centre, academic societies and many other areas would facilitate student-to-student connections.

    Felicity Morgan, Director of the Career Centre continued the presentation to talk about how UTM was helping students explore the links between their career interests and their programs of study to help them build a greater sense of belonging in their academic communities.

    Ms Morgan noted that approximately one third of students North America-wide changed their majors at least once before the end their first year, and to help students with that process, the UTM Career Centre, in collaboration with with the Office of the Dean, Office of the Registrar and the Centre for Student Engagement, formed an initiative along with faculty who were teaching first year courses to present information on career exploration to help students with their decision making. Presentations were made to 3,900 student contacts within first-year courses alone on exploring careers and pursuing programs of interest. She reported that students and faculty were very receptive to these presentations.

    Mr. Overton continued the presentation by referring members to the previously mentioned BCSSE survey finding that 56% of entering students who responded expected to be commuting by transit or automobile from farther than walking distance to UTM. To address and enhance the student environment and strengthen alliances to UTM’s environmental focus, UTMSU and UTM’s contract renewal with MiWay, Mississauga’s transit service provider, provided term-long unlimited rides at one quarter of the cost of monthly adult passes for the same period, providing approximately 1,600,000 U-Pass boardings in 2019. He further noted that on the UTM shuttle with over 300, 000 boardings in an average year, the greenhouse gas emission savings (vs. automobile use for a similar number of passengers) was the equivalent of planting 39,823 trees.

    A member commented on what a pleasure it was to hear about the many efforts UTM made to support students, including activities around sustainability.
  3. Status Report on UTM Campus Strategic Priorities: Professor Alexandra Gillespie, Vice-President & Principal and Professor Amrita Daniere, Interim Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean

    The Chair reminded members that starting in November, UTM would be discussing its budget plans with the Provost and the Vice President of University Operations and would receive approval of its enrollment plans in the budget in February of 2023.The University’s institutional budget would then proceed for governance consideration and it, along with the UTM campus operating budget would then be presented for information to UTM governance bodies.

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Alexandra Gillespie, Vice-President and Principal and Professor Amrita Daniere, Interim Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, gave a presentation that outlined the status of the strategic priorities of the campus.

    Professor Gillespie organized her update around the core values and priorities of UTM’s strategic framework, which was developed in 2021.During her presentation, she highlighted four exemplary accomplishments for each of the core values of fostering student success, empowering research discovery and impact, embracing our place, building efficient and sustainable operations, and encouraging collaboration and belonging, all with the central focus of truth, openness and reciprocity. She announced that the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) office has already been chosen as the Modern Heritage Award winner for the 2022 Heritage Mississauga Awards, known as The Credits. Professor Gillespie reported that UTM Collaborated with MCFN and other Indigenous knowledge keepers to host the first international workshop on wiigwaasaatig for cultural heritage preservation. UTM also expanded the role of UTM’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives to amplify autonomous Indigenous leadership and help answer the calls to action of Wecheehetowin. In addition, plans were underway with UTM’s Indigenous Table, including for a UTM-based pow-wow in 2023 and for new projects on the rematriation of Indigenous cultural artefacts.

    The Presentation was continued by Professor Daniere. She showed the enrolment of international and domestic students and noted that as of October 11, 2022, UTM fell short of the domestic target number of students by 80 and the international target number of students by 443 students, which would affect budget projections for several years. Professor Daniere also reported that UTM was conducting 29 faculty searches across all disciplines, including seven growth positions, which was consistent with the goals of the Academic Plan. She concluded her presentation by noting that UTM’s self-study, which would provide the framework and identify priorities for UTM to address over the next five years, was complete and was submitted to the Provost. Next, the external review was scheduled for early or late winter and its recommendations and the accompanying response to the recommendations would be provided to the Provost in the spring of 2023.

    During discussion, the following points were made:
  • The Vice-Principal Academic & Dean noted that this year, UTM did not admit as many international students into its most competitive programs compared to the previous year, because it had over corrected trying to respond to an over enrollment in the previous year.
  • It had been very challenging during COVID19 to assess enrollment patterns and UTM could not rely on past models of enrolment during this time.UTM was making a concerted effort to improve its modeling.
  • The Vice-President & Principal added that under enrollment was not an indication of a lack of demand, but rather that UTM had been attempting to ensure that it did not again over enroll students as in the previous year, because that resulted in real costs to particular programs, such as Management, Computer Science, Life Sciences, ICCIT.
  • Professor Gillespie explained that with respect to source regions, a large proportion of UTM’s international students were Chinese students studying in Ontario High Schools, but that due to the pandemic not as many of these students attended High Schools in Ontario.
  • UTM was working with the Office of the Vice-Provost, Strategic Enrollment Management to develop better modelling and improve data sources.
  • UTM was also working to diversify its international student body which would make a difference to those numbers in the future.
  • Recently, UTM had improved retention rates and the new advising initiatives being rolled out would also make a difference in this regard.
  • The Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy (ISUP) was offering 50% of the incoming first-year class, small, seminar style writing courses, which would better prepare students to perform well and improve retention.
  • The work of UTM’s implementation committee for the Anti-Black Racism Task Force, involved the collaborative work of 32 units and was working actively on racism prevention and mitigation and improvements within departments according to needs.
  1. Revisions to the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment

    The Chair invited Professor Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students to present the item. Professor Welsh noted that she was bringing forward for information the Revisions to the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment that would go through governance consideration this cycle.

    During her presentation, Professor Welsh highlighted the following points:
  • The current Policy came into being on January 1st, 2017, following its approval by the Governing Council in 2016.
  • A directive from the Ontario government required all Ontario post-secondary institutions to have a standalone policy on sexual violence. The government required that all policies be reviewed and if necessary, amended every three years. The first review for that cycle began in 2019.
  • The second review of the Policy took place in 2021-2022. This allowed the University administration to receive feedback from the community and to make changes to the Policy and processes where it was warranted.
  • This review was steered by Professor Linda Johnston, Dean of the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and Dr. Allison Burgess, Director of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office. The reviewers submitted their final report in July 2022 and all the report recommendations were accepted by the administration. In addition to the review of the Policy, President Gertler requested the co-chairs to consider four additional questions:
    • What are the best practices to address the barriers to reporting and to provide supports for survivors?
    • How do we appropriately account for power dynamics that are inherent in institutions of higher learning?
    • What information can be shared with participants engaged in and at the conclusion of a sexual violence process. While considering confidentiality, privacy obligations, and a fair and effective process?
    • Should the university sector develop a process for sharing information between institutions about findings of sexual misconduct by faculty members?
  • Co-Chairs consulted widely with over 700 participants representing all constituencies across the tri-campus. Final consultations took place earlier this Fall and resulted in additional final changes that were made to the report.
  • There were two primary types of revisions:
    • Changes to reflect reviewers’ recommendations about the Policy, such as:
      • Public annual report providing statistical information on sexual violence cases.
      • Increased clarity on non-adjudicative processes.
      • Stronger language on zero tolerance for reprisals and retaliation.
    • Minor changes to enhance clarity of the Policy, such as alphabetization of definitions.
  • On October 27th, 2022 the Ontario government tabled legislation to further address sexual violence in post-secondary institutions, which would come into effect in July 2023. The legislation, entitled ‘Strengthening Post-Secondary Institutions and Students Act’, created additional tools to address sexual violence in post-secondary institutions, specifically between students and employees. The University concluded that the Act’s policy recommendations reflected what was already in the University’s Policy and the revisions brought forward to Council.

    In response to a member’s question about the definition of university community in the Policy, Professor Welsh noted that they included students, faculty, librarians, post-doctoral fellows, and all employees of the University of Toronto, including vendors.

    A member commented on the proposed Policy being an important and very well executed piece of work. In response to the member’s question about how consultations were conducted, Professor Welsh explained that across the many consultation sessions that were held, there was support that was available from the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre, so that everyone felt safe to share their input. She also added that online feedback had been welcomed by certain groups, who could express their thoughts anonymously. Consultations also included targeted outreach to various student groups and societies who had been very helpful in the development of the proposed Policy.
  1. Report of the University Ombudsperson for the period July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 and Administrative Response

    The Chair invited Professor Emeritus Bruce Kidd, University Ombudsperson to present the item.

    During his presentation, Professor Kidd highlighted the following:

    The Chair referred members to the Report of the University Ombudsperson for the period July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 and the Administrative Response, which were available on the governance portal as well as posted on the Council’s website. He introduced the University Ombudsperson, Professor Emeritus Bruce Kidd, and invited him to present the item. Professor Kidd noted that the Office of the Ombudsperson provided independent confidential advice to the university community. He reported that the Ombuds Office had received over 400 complaints last year, which was an increase of over 13% from the previous year. He noted that this was in part due to the unique conditions of the pandemic.

    Professor Kidd’s annual report focused on four key issues:

    Stress, Anger, Disrespect, Incivility and Mental Health Challenges
  • Stress and anger across the tri-campus had been at an all-time high. This could be attributed to the unprecedented conditions of the pandemic, including concerns for public health, ongoing pivots from remote learning to hybrid to in-person offerings, and isolation.

    Graduate Students
  • The number of complaints from graduate students about heavy-handed or at the other extreme, neglectful supervision had leveled off. However, in other areas of graduate study, the number of complaints the Office received increased by 35%. The Ombuds Office would continue to monitor the types and volume of graduate student complaints.

    Inadequate Communications
  • The accuracy of website content, hyperlinks, and the clarity of contact information for student support staff were challenges raised by preceding Ombudspersons and continued to be an ongoing issue. The Ombudsperson recommended that accurate and accessible information should be considered a right at U of T.

    Academic Integrity
  • There were significant backlogs in academic integrity cases across the tri-campus. Although this impacted less than one percent of students, due to the size of the University, the number of students impacted was high. Backlogs of this nature could impact a student's ability to complete their studies. Delays were not always the fault of those designated to administer the review and code. Since submitting the report, the Ombudsperson had learned that some divisions had invested additional resources to address the backlog of cases.

    There were no questions from members.
  1. Reports of the Presidential Assessors
  1. Update on the Development of the 2023-24 Operating Plans – UTM Service Ancillaries Budgets
    The Chair invited Vicky Jezierski, Director of Hospitality & Ancillary Operations and Brian Cunha, Director of Student Housing & Residence Life to provide an update on the development of the ancillary budget plans.

    During their presentation, they shared the following information:
  • The administration was consulting with the Food Services Advisory Committee, the Residence Student Dining Committee, and the Transportation and Parking Committee with scheduled dates through October and November.
  • For Hospitality Services, revenue was approaching pre-pandemic levels and there was 90% of pre-pandemic meal plan revenue; Film shoots and Ontario Summer Games provided higher than expected revenue from summer business.
  • For Parking & Transportation, student permit sales were at approximately 90% of expected levels and staff and faculty permit sales were at about 93%. There was a waitlist for unreserved permits, comparable to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Over the summer implemented self-checkout in the Davis Food Court.
  • $1.8M Spigel Kitchen renovation hope to be completed in 2024.
  • Food inflation increased by 9.8% between August 2021 and August 2022 (Statistics Canada)
  • UTM was waiting for the 2022 Food Institute of Dalhousie University Food Price report predictions in December which would be reviewed to finalize the budget.
  • For Student Housing & Residence Life, focus this year had been on post-pandemic recovery and renewal of existing spaces.
  • Dealing with the financial impact of COVID19 on reserves due to a large number of refunds in 2020 and lower than anticipated occupancy in 2020 and 2021 in addition to this cost of goods and services.
  • Two townhouse phases had been dramatically refreshed.
  • New Residence building was in the planning stages.
  • Increased costs of construction and renovation projects.
  • Very high demand for on campus housing from both domestic and international students; Challenge of meeting the first-year student housing guarantee.
  • The consultation process for the budget included the Student Housing Advisory Committee (SHAC), with four meetings scheduled for the fall; seeking endorsement from SHAC at the group’s final meeting.

    In response to a member’s question, Mr. Cunha explained that because international students made up a large proportion of the student resident population, their residence placement was interspersed with those of domestic students as opposed to a concentrated placement to facilitate the learning experiences of all students.  He added that there was also targeted programming available to international students.


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 October 31, 2022
  2. Reports for Information
    1. Report 56 of the Agenda Committee (November 2, 2022)
    2. Report 55 of the Campus Affairs Committee (October 18, 2022)
    3. Report 47 of the Academic Affairs Committee (October 17, 2022)
  3. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 55 – October 3, 2022
    The report of the previous meeting was approved.
  4. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
  5. Date of Next Meeting – January 24, 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 5:53 p.m.

November 25, 2022