Report: UTSC Campus Affairs Committee - January 13, 2020

UTSC Council Chamber, Arts and Administration Building, Room AA160


To the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Council,
University of Toronto Scarborough

Your Committee reports that it met on Monday, January 13, 2020 at 4:10 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Arts and Administration Building, with the following members present:

Tayyab Rashid (Chair), Tarun Dewan (Vice-Chair), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and
Principal USTC), William Gough (Vice-Principal Academic and Dean), Desmond Pouyat (Dean of Student Affairs), Olashile Adeyoyin, Janet Blakely, Hanan Domloge, Soaad Hossain, Jubayer Jalal, Paul Kingston, Brenda Librecz, Tanya Mars, Alice Maurice*, Elaine Khoo, Sylvia Mittler, Naureen Nizam

Non-voting Assessors:
Sheila John, Helen Morissette, Nadia Rosemond

Emma Thacker, Secretary


Andrew Arifuzzaman (Chief Administrative Officer), Obidimma Ezezika, Ken Howard, Jack Parkinson, Jeff Miller, Ayesha Mir, Andrew Tam, Deena Yanofsky

In attendance: Shari Russell Opara (Manager, Health and Wellness), Tina Doyle (Director, AccessAbility Services)

*Participated by teleconference.

  1. Chair’s Remarks

The Chair welcomed members and guests to the first Committee meeting of 2020. The Chair welcomed back Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, William Gough from his administrative leave, and thanked Professor Maydianne Andrade for stepping in as Committee Assessor in his absence. In addition, the Chair provided details on the election and the vacant seats for the Campus Affairs Committee.

Vice President and Principal, Wisdom Tettey shared few words about the tragic plane crash that had affected the University of Toronto community.

  1. Council on Student Services (CSS) Process[1]

The Dean, Student Affairs, Desmond Pouyat delivered a Report to the Committee. The Report included the following key points:

  • On January 17, 2019, the Government of Ontario announced the Student Choice Initiative, which provided students with the choice to opt out of non-essential fees starting in fall 2019. Student Unions launched legal action, and the Government was appealing the divisional court decision that ruled against them. Nevertheless, the fee approval process remained the same.
  • The Council on Student Service was described in the Policy on Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees known as the ‘Protocol’. It was the responsible body of students involved in decisions to increase fees.​
  • Fifteen student members from various student groups form the student membership.
  • The process included a series of meetings and working groups to ensure consultation. The final budget presentation and vote occurred on January 23, 2020.
  • The Administrative Assessor is permitted by the ‘Protocol’ to invoke a formula (the UTI and CPI Index Fee), should the budget vote fail.
  • Student Society Fees are first vetted through the Vice-Provost Student’s Office prior to submission to the Campus Affairs Committee, to ensure proposed increases are appropriate and adhere to the rules governing fee increases for the various societies.

A member asked why the student service fee motions were approved together and not separated. Mr. Pouyat explained that the motions represented a plan, and were interlinked and part of an integrated set of services.

A member asked if there was room for students to negotiate the student service fee increases. Mr. Pouyat responded that there was a CSS pre-budget meeting where the budget was presented. This allowed for consultation and an opportunity to respond. He shared that most budgets had been strongly supported and that the process ensured consistency of funds to support student services.

A member asked how the University responded when there was a concern about financial mismanagement in a student society. Mr. Pouyat responded that an investigation to confirm any mismanagement would be conducted and funds withheld from the student society depending on the outcome.

  1. Student Mental Health at UTSC – A Systemic Approach

Desmond Pouyat, Dean of Student Affairs introduced the topic of student mental health, and introduced Ms Russell Opara and Ms Sheila John, who provided a presentation. Ms Russell Opara shared background on the development of the systemic approach to mental health at UTSC, indicating that it was a collaborative effort including several internal groups and individuals, and community partners. Ms John explained the multi-pronged approach, which included mental health awareness, community capacity, self-management competencies and coping skills, accessible mental health services and crisis management. To conclude, the presenters discussed evaluation and improvement strategies, and the UTSC Student Mental Health Advisory Committee.

A member asked how the Health and Wellness Centre had been supporting students where English was a second language. Ms John responded that students were often paired with a service provider with a common language. In addition, the My Student Support Program (SSP), was offered in 140 languages.

A member asked about handcuffing procedures with students. Ms John explained that in a very small number of cases, if a student was assessed as high risk, it may be determined that the safest way to escort them to a hospital for further assessment and treatment, was with handcuffing.

A member asked about pro-active strategies for faculty. Ms John explained that there were upcoming sessions for faculty about referring students in crisis, and that these sessions were ongoing.

A member asked if there were marketing strategies as part of the systemic approach. Ms John responded that one of the roles of the peers in the peer to peer program was to communicate about the services. Another member suggested that UTSC Instagram may be underutilized by the Health and Wellness Centre for advertising services.

In response to a member’s question, Ms John confirmed that when supporting students, the Health and Wellness Centre has communicated with parents in the past, with students’ permission.

  1. Reports of the Presidential Assessors

The Chair advised members that the Presidential Assessors’ report was deferred until the next meeting.

  1. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 34 - Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Report Number 34 was approved.

  1. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

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

  1. Date of the Next Meeting - Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
  2. Other Business

There was no other business.

The meeting adjourned at 6:20 p.m.