Report: UTSC Campus Council - January 26, 2022



January 26, 2022

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto

Your Campus Council reports that it met virtually on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, at 4:10 p.m. with the following members present:

Present: Grace Westcott (Chair), Vina Goghari (Vice-Chair), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal), William A. Gough (Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), Andrew Arifuzzaman (Chief Administrative Officer), Esma Boztas, George Cree, Shadi Dalili, Tarun Dewan, Edward Henley, Irmi Hutfless, Sameer Lal, Dorinda So, Jason Glover, Sonja Nikkila, John Ramdeen, Michelle Ramnaraine, Silma Roddau, Tayyab Rashid, Paulina Rousseau, Danielle Skipp, Jinny Tsang

In Attendance: Kelly Crawford (Assistant Director Indigenous Initiatives), Jennifer Adams Peffer (Campus Architect and Director of Architecture, Planning and Project Development)

Secretariat: Emma Thacker (UTSC Campus Council Secretary), Tim Harlick

Regrets: Imran Khan, Gillian Mason


  1. Chair’s Remarks

The Chair, Ms. Grace Westcott, welcomed members and guests to the Council meeting. Ms Westcott provided an update on the 2022 governance elections, noting that there was an Information Session for candidates on January 27, 2022.

  1. Report of the Vice-President and Principal

2a) Presentation: Placemaking at UTSC

Vice-President and Principal, Wisdom Tettey invited the co-chairs of the UTSC Sub-committee on Indigenous Placemaking, Ms Kelly Crawford (Assistant Director, Indigenous Initiatives), and Ms Jennifer Adams Peffer (Campus Architect and Director of Architecture, Planning and Project Development) to present the item for information. The presentation included the following highlights:

  • Placemaking was the restoration of an Indigenous presence through art and design that was rooted in Indigenous Knowledge including Indigenous participation and collaboration.
  • Placemaking was part of the University of Toronto’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and living the intent of reconciliation was a fundamental value of the campus community, and the UTSC Strategic Plan, Inspiring Inclusive Excellence.
  • The Indigenous Placemaking Sub-committee held its inaugural meeting in 2021.
  • The Committee’s objectives for 2022 included:
    • Developing placemaking guidelines for use across campus;
    • Translating names of identified spaces into Metis, First Nations, and Inuit languages;
    • Renaming the MW building (Social Sciences Building).

A member asked how the process of renaming could be completed without further negative impact to Indigenous communities. Ms Crawford responded with a deeper explanation of the consultation process and perspectives on intentionality with rights holders and language speakers. Principal Tettey agreed that the process could be a challenge if it was not thoughtfully navigated. He noted that the Committee had deliberated about the issues identified in the question and that it was proceeding in a manner that was sensitive and responsive to those dynamics. He added that UTSC was in constant consultation with Elders, and rights holders to help navigate the process, and that efforts were being made to balance and recognize ‘pride of place’ for rights holders and UTSC’s intention and commitment to be inclusive of the diversity of Indigenous communities.

Principal Tettey thanked Kelly Crawford and Jennifer Adams Peffer for their leadership and work.

2b) Report of the Vice-President and Principal

Principal Tettey reported on the recent community Townhall that discussed the plans for the safe return to campus. He noted that a second Townhall was planned for January 28, for students. He informed Council that Desmond Pouyat (Dean, Student Experience & Wellbeing) would retire at the end of June 2022, and would be taking some time off prior to retirement. During this time, Ms Sheila John (Assistant Dean Wellness Recreation and Sport), would take on the role of Acting Dean, Student Experience & Wellbeing (February 1, 2022 - June 30, 2022). There would be an opportunity to recognize and to celebrate Dean Pouyat’s contributions to UTSC and to the University of Toronto, and the process to recruit his successor was underway. Principal Tettey invited Professor William Gough (Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), to share an update regarding the planned safe return to campus.  

Professor Gough thanked all of those who were contributing to the University mission under these trying times. He had hoped that the planned return to campus would begin at the start of the winter term. He noted that a number of principles were at play, as decisions were being made to complete the remainder of the term, such as safety, the wellbeing of staff, instructors and students, the student experience, the educational pedagogical experience, and the rights of individuals vs our collective rights as a community. Professor Gough reported that the University would begin a return to campus on February 7, 2022. UTSC would have a phased approach, with some in-person elements returning on February 7, and the remainder by February 28, 2022 (with several caveats). All academic units and departments had developed plans for this phased return. All members of the University community were required to be vaccinated (or exempted) to be on campus. Some vaccine non-compliant students had been de-enrolled from their in-person component courses (3% of UTSC students). Of this group, 40% had since uploaded their vaccine status, and had been re-enrolled in their courses. Much work had been completed with upgrading the ventilation of teaching spaces, and an update to the University-wide Masking Protocol would be released shortly. Fully online courses would continue to be offered online. There had been some steps to reduce large enrolment for in-person settings (e.g., web-option). Pathways for international students who had not yet returned to Canada were under consideration, recognizing that travel at this time was difficult. More information would be provided on this topic at the upcoming student Townhall.  

A member asked about lifting the social distancing requirements in the classroom. Professor Gough explained that last August (2021) the Ministry of Colleges and Universities granted an exception to universities and colleges, to deliver courses in instructional settings. Mr. Andrew Arifuzzaman (UTSC Chief Administrative Officer) added that the campus had also upgraded airflow in classrooms which far exceeded requirements. In addition, the new Masking Protocol would promote the use of high-quality masks.  

A member asked about timelines and travel issues for international students returning to campus. Dean Gough responded that not all courses could offer a web-option, although some courses may have capacity to record, and instructors with high international enrollment were being encouraged to make use of this option. He also noted that all students had been aware of the return to campus since before the holiday break. More robust summer course offerings were also being planned to give students the opportunity to take courses that they may have been constrained from taking this term. He closed by suggesting that students seek out information on the web (‘UTogether’) and attend the upcoming Townhall for up-to-date information.

  1. Capital Project: Retail and Parking Commons, UTSC

The Chair invited Mr. Andrew Arifuzzaman to present the capital project for the Retail and Parking Commons. Mr. Arifuzzaman reported the following highlights:

  • The building was proposed to be constructed on the UTSC north campus, near the Toronto Pan-Am Sports Centre (TPASC).
  • The Retail and Parking Commons would provide 1084 parking spaces which were required to meet a City of Toronto by-law.​
  • The building would become the new location of the UTSC Bookstore​ and the Campus Safety and Parking Services offices.​
  • The building would offer a central loading dock with tunnel connections to new buildings​, a café, central indoor bicycle and scooter storage​, and offer a covered multi-purpose space to be used for the Farmer’s Market, student activities, and as exhibit space​.
  • The building would be designed to be repurposed for residence and/or office space​ as needed;
  • The building design included many sustainable design elements, including low carbon and carbon sequestering building materials.

Dr. Tayyab Rashid provided highlights of the discussion on this item at the January 13, 2022 Campus Affairs Committee meeting, which largely focused on environmental aspects of the build.

A member inquired about the sustainability and durability of the wood building materials. Mr. Arifuzzaman responded that the mass timber lifespan was projected at 150 years. The materials were also locally sourced, reducing tariffs, and were easier to maintain over time.

Another member asked about enrolment and parking spaces, given that many students did not drive. Mr. Arifuzzaman responded that while UTSC was generally a commuter campus, demographics were changing, and many, including faculty, lived further away from campus needing to drive. The parking structure addressed this issue, as well as future undergraduate expansion, as the growth of public transit to campus remained uncertain. Finally, Andrew confirmed to a member that temporary parking was allocated for, during the project construction.

On motion duly made, seconded and carried, 


THAT the Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Retail and Parking Commons at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), dated December 3, 2021, be approved in principle; and,
THAT the project totaling 42,877 gross square metres (gsm), be approved in principle, to be funded through: the UTSC Parking Ancillary Capital Construction Reserve; UTSC Major Capital Project Reserves Fund; UTSC Reserves; and Financing.

  1. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 50 – November 15, 2021

The report of the previous meeting 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. Reports for Information

Members received the following reports for information.

  1. Report Number 51 of the UTSC Agenda Committee (January 17, 2022)
  2. Report Number 54 of the UTSC Academic Affairs Committee (January 10, 2022)
  3. Report Number 46 of the UTSC Campus Affairs Committee (January 13, 2022)
  1. Date of the Next Meeting – March 9, 2022, at 4:10 p.m.

The Chair advised members that the Council was scheduled to meet again on March 9, 2022 at 4:10 p.m.

  1. Question Period

Members had no questions.    

  1. Other Business

No other business was raised.

The Council moved in camera.


  1. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Retail and Parking Commons, UTSC – Total Project Cost and Sources of Funding

The Chair invited Mr. Andrew Arifuzzaman to present the item. Mr. Arifuzzaman presented the total project cost and sources of funding.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,


THAT the total project cost of the Retail and Parking Commons, as described in the Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Retail and Parking Commons at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), dated December 3, 2021, be approved in principle.

The Council returned to open session. 

The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.