For most University of Toronto students, their TCard is an everyday necessity. It is required identification for exams, as well access to campus resources such as libraries and athletics facilities. It also allows students to photocopy and print on campus, and purchase food or activate their meal plans at select campus locations.
Getting a TCard, however, might not be as easy as you think, as new documentation, besides proof of enrollment, is now required for the official U of T student photo identification card. Effective summer 2015, incoming U of T St. George students must now provide proof of citizenship, permanent residency, registration under the 1985 Indian Act, or immigration permission in order for the TCard Office to issue the identification.
Students whose citizenship information does not match their status in the university’s records will not be able to obtain a TCard.
“The university is always reviewing processes to see where improvements can be made. This one was identified in discussions with divisions; we felt that UTM and UTSC had a strong process in place and have adopted it for St. George,” said Richard Levin, the executive director, enrolment services and university registrar.
According to Levin, the new regulations were implemented due to provincial funding regulations that require the university to report on domestic and international enrolments. “Requiring documentation of status ensures that we are reporting accurately and complying with these regulations,” Levin said. “The process ensures that student records are accurate and that international students have government-required documentation.”
“Because I am having some issues providing identity proof documents it is possible that I won’t be able to obtain a TCard until December and in the meantime I don’t know what to do,” said Gloria Liu, a second-year student at U of T. Liu is therefore unable to obtain an official sch ool email and is unable to access university library resources online. She is hoping to resolve this issue before December so that she will be able to fully utilize the services that come along with having a TCard.
The new requirement may be especially problematic for U of T’s 11,000 international students, who come from over 150 different countries. Incoming first-year international student Violeta Lialios-Bouwman believes that extra documentation is unnecessary when a student has already been given a place at U of T.
“With the University of Toronto being an accepting and diverse school, I believe all people should have the right to learn and be part of this community. Having documentation should not be a factor in if a student is eligible to attend and be part of a school. As long as they pay their fees and play by the rules, university should be an option for any dedicated student,” Lialios-Bouwman said.
U of T is also home to a number of refugee students, many of whom may not possess the required documents for the new TCard process. “I can see this impacting refugee students if the student comes from a place that is no longer a state, or the recognized representative of a state. Requiring them to figure out what they can use in place of a passport, and whether or not they count as International or Permanent Residents is absolutely pointless,” said second-year political science and biodiversity, and conservation biology student Lucian Wang. “I think having photo ID should be enough to get your TCard.”