On February 10, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) sent a letter to participants in the Student Societies Summit stating that it would not be attending future meetings, citing both petitions from its members objecting to its participation, as well as concerns of its own. The letter was written by the UTMSU’s vice-president, external, Melissa Theodore.“We believe further participation and implicit consent of the Summit will have a negative impact on our membership, and the student body as a whole,” reads the letter, “As a result, we also encourage other student groups to cease participation in the summit.” The union named a number of its objections to the summit: The summit represents a breach of the autonomy of students’ unions, fails to include a number of student groups who ought to have a part in the proceedings, has never had its scope or terms of reference clearly defined, and has encouraged the UTMSU and UTSU University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) to violate contract law. UTMSU also argues that the Summit is undemocratic, seeks to negotiate from an unequal footing, and has not addressed issue of bullying and intimidation tactics.Additionally, the letter stated that representatives of other divisional student groups at the summit have treated UTM students as “second-class students.” “We have been referred to as though we are not made up of individual, responsible, intelligent adults and as though we are not to have the same rights conferred to us as members of the UTSU as other students,” says Theodore.“We have to question why this perception exists,” she continued, “On the face of it, the only things that are apparently different about our society and the others that exist at the Student Society Summit are that we are located farther away from the UTSU than most other societies and that we have a much higher proportion of racialized students on our campus and so tend to be represented by racialized members.” The letter notes that extremely few representatives at summit meetings have been women, mature students, people of colour, people with disabilities, international students, or trans students.Theodore also notes that revealing the contract that delineates the UTMSU’s relationship with the UTSU would constitute a violation of contract law, as divulging the contents of the contract is against the provisions of the contract. Participants at summit meetings have nonetheless repeatedly requested that the contract be revealed. The UTMSU contends that doing so would open it up to litigation.The reaction of other Summit participants to UTMSU’s withdrawal has been mixed. “It is disappointing that the UTMSU will not participate in future Summit meetings,” said Nishi Kumar, president of the University College Literary and Athletic Society, “I am also confused about their allegations of racism and sexism during meetings. I personally have not encountered any of the “aggression” from summit attendees that their statement describes, nor have my three female colleagues from SGRT. We are a diverse group, representing students from all backgrounds and experiences, and the Summit has encouraged active participation from all of us.”Mauricio Curbelo, president of the Engineering Society, argued that the UTMSU’s decision to exit the Summit was motivated by a desire not to disclose their financial arrangement with the UTSU. “Their non-participation is proof that they are unable to defend the fee transfer in a public forum. The administration should ignore the UTMSU’s baseless grandstanding and continue with the Summit process,” he said.The UTSU has not yet decided on a course of action in response to the UTMSU’s decision. “We have not yet had time to digest this ourselves, but it certainly gives us quite a bit to consider,” said Munib Sajjad, president of the UTSU.Also on February 10, the leaders of a number of divisional student societies sent their own letter to faculty representatives at the summit. The letter states that the outcome of the summit must be a recommendation to change university policy, that the fee arrangement between the UTSU and UTMSU must be terminated or offered to every other divisional student society that requests it, and that constituencies must be allowed to cease their affiliation with campus- or university-wide student societies if they wish.These divisional leaders further contend that the university’s Policy for Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees ought to be changed. Their recommended changes include allowing every student society to have mechanisms by which it may change its constitutions, bylaws, and policies without Executive or Board consideration of their proposals, based solely on the decisions of its membership. They recommend also that non-U of T students must be banned from formally or informally participating as campaign volunteers in U of T student society elections.The divisional leaders who signed this letter include Curbelo; Kumar; Jelena Savic, president of the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council; Ben Crase and Maha Naqi, heads of Trinity College; Mary Stefanidis, president of the Innis College Student Society; Ashkan Azimi, president of New College Student Council; Alex Zappone, president of the St. Michael’s College Student Union; and Anthony O’Brien, president of the Kinesiology and Physical Education Undergraduate Association.
UTMSU exits Student Societies Summit
Argues UTM students treated as "second-class students" in letter to summit
Saying goodbye to David Naylor
Outgoing U of T president discusses flat fees, fee diversion, favourite books, and his final thoughts as he says farewell
It has been eight years since David Naylor became president of U of T. He’s led the university in the midst of provincial funding cuts, a global recession, and seemingly endless battles with the students’ union. He will step down on October 31, and former Arts & Science dean Meric Gertler will take his place. I sat down with Naylor one more time for a 45-minute interview that lasted nearly an hour and a half, not counting the responses he emailed for the questions we didn’t have time to get to.The Varsity: I know that provincial and federal funding is something that you’ve talked about for a long time, in terms of the university wanting more of it. If you could have any system you wanted right now, what would it look like?David Naylor: We would be at the national average for student funding, at the minimum, and that alone would see probably on the order of $300 million of additional base funding; that’s how big the gap has become. TV: And why are we below the average?DN: This is a very challenging question to ever answer definitively. If you go back twenty years, you’ll find the province was already lagging in terms of post-secondary funding and, despite some positive steps in the early days of the Reaching Higher program the province adopted, there has been no real progress. It’s particularly puzzling because we are the national average on spending K-12 education, and the national average in terms of spending on health care. Yet we seem to have decided, somehow, that it’s okay to have a situation in which universities and colleges receive relatively less per student from other provinces. Indeed, so much less that if I were to move the University of Toronto’s operations to Edmonton or Calgary tomorrow, we would double our funding from the province, even after they’ve had their cuts. TV: The province is considering amending the flat-fees structure, the proposal is, as of next year students taking 3.5 courses will be considered full-time, and as of 2015 students taking four courses or 80 per cent will be considered full-time. Do you think that these changes are positive? If so, why, and if not, what would be a better system?DN: I think the changes are not evidence-based…what has not been established is that there are any ill effects from this approach, and by established I mean good strong evidence rather than the usual anecdote that carries the day in newspapers. When you look at the studies that were done by the Faculty of Arts & Science, with student representatives on those committees, we see quantitative evidence that shows the following:We see faster times to completion, which is good for everybody. We see the funds that have been generated from the program fee approach have been redirected to improve student aid, which is also a good thing net and net no one ends up paying more as a result, when you consider both intensification and the additional student aid.You see that extracurricular participation has not fallen one bit. You see that grade distribution, so far from going in the wrong direction, is actually showing positive changes. When you put all the evidence together, there’s really not a lot to say that program fees have had an adverse effect.
TV: Would you advocate for the status quo? Do you think that there should be any change at the provincial level?DN: Do I think the threshold should be four? No, I do not think that threshold is appropriate. Do I think the threshold could be 3 or 3.5? You can argue it either way, but to me if you’re going to do it, what I really would want to see from the standpoint of fairness is get the evidence as you proceed, step by step, to show that adverse effects are not occurring. TV: U of T consistently ranks poorly on Maclean’s and other surveys that rank student life on campus. Do you think U of T has as strong a student life or sense of identity as Queen’s or Western? If so, why? If not, why not? DN: I take some consolation on these surveys from the reality that we have a more critically minded, and I think very smart, audience that may be more inclined to take a skeptical view than those who are happier to paint themselves purple or participate in rowdy Homecoming institutions.
TV: Can it all be attributed to that?DN: No, of course not. I just wanted to get in that preliminary caveat before I answered your question. The surveys that I look at that give me some sense of encouragement are the NSSE [National Survey of Student Engagement] surveys. On NSSE, we’re up meaningfully over the last few years on five of the seven big domains, and stable on two others. So there’s no question that student life and student engagement are improving. The reality is that this is a major urban centre. We have a lot of students who commute and we know in all these surveys that commuting poses challenges in terms of spirit and solidarity. I do think that the continued improvement in athletics helps. I think that having a Student Commons will help.I do think that U of T students are simply more academic and have a stronger orientation to a life of the mind than students at some other campuses. And we get accordingly a group who may be less inclined to go out and whoop it up at an athletic event or hang out at a local bar and have fun and who may be a little more likely to be hitting the books in a pretty demanding school and tending to focus on their academics a little more heavily — and I frankly get that and I admire it. TV: Yes. Now you said the words ‘‘student commons,’’ so I have to ask: On the one hand you have Trinity, Engineering, and Victoria who want to leave. On the other hand you have the students’ union who doesn’t want them to leave. What is a potential compromise?DN: I think that one has to ask what are some of the services that are sufficiently common across the campus that they might be provided by an umbrella entity and which are division specific to the extent that one might want to see them devolved and that thinking around functionality is one starting point. Another starting point for a compromise is to think about how good governance occurs and that means there has to be some sense that there is an umbrella body like UTSU, that it is responsive to the component divisions in a way that gives them a real sense of full participation in decisions that are made, and both those principles become a starting point for some intelligent compromises. Where this will end up is going to depend upon whether people are willing to find compromises in both directions.
TV: It is the formal position at Victoria, Engineering, and Trinity that they feel there is no room to compromise and they want out. And a few weeks ago the St. George Round Table passed a motion endorsing the principle that if students have voted to leave in a fair referendum then they should be allowed to leave. And, as you know, the union is not responsive to these things. Online voting only got implemented in this election because Cheryl Misak basically threatened to cut off funding. How do you work with the union under these circumstances?DN: I think it is fair to say that the administration is very unlikely to be comfortable with anything that doesn’t involve some sensible compromises on all sides and if there is no appetite for compromise then there will have to be some decision made by governance on the advice of the administration as to what a sensible and fair dispensation would be. There is no question we have heard very quickly the unhappiness of at least three major student groups on this campus. There is also no question, that we have watched years of challenges to electoral results and have had more than one student group through the years have similar concerns to those that have crystallized and been voted on now. All that is to say that no one should underestimate the resolve of the administration to see a fair resolution.So I think you will find that we will be moderately patient, perhaps frustratingly so for those that want a fast resolution, and we are going to try and keep the conversation going and if at some juncture there is no resolution, we will act. TV: The Varsity recently wrote a story about interest fees the university charges. U of T collects about $1.76 million dollars in interest fees from the St. George campus undergraduate students. I don’t think that’s much money for the administration, but I do think that’s a lot of money for your average student. Students get osap money twice during the year, but they have to pay their fees once during the year. So bearing in mind the different OSAP timelines and the pressure from the students’ union, do you think the current model needs to be altered, and if not, why? DN: First off, whatever the number is, any money in base that recurs is important to the institution. This is not a one-time amount of money, it’s a recurring amount of money, but much more important than the actual amount brought in on interest charges is the fact that if fees are not paid on a timely basis, there is a loss on the part of the institution. Like any other enterprise we have to continue to make payroll, deal with our expenses, and manage cash flow. TV: Are there ways to do that without charging interest?DN: Well it’s pretty hard not to charge interest because if the money isn’t in our hands we can’t put whatever money has been banked out to collect interest out from the banks. Remember that our money comes in in a couple of tranches, just like the money comes in from OSAP in a couple of tranches. We have to manage cash flow for the year. If we don’t invest the money that comes in we’re guilty of dereliction of the appropriate use of capital in our hands and that would be inappropriate and wasteful. One of the reasons interest is charged on these accounts is not some desire to gouge or to make a lot of money out of the interest per se, but rather to make sure we actually have people paying on a timely basis. TV: Could U of T operate on a model where students pay once per semester? Other universities do.DN: You have to look at each institution’s model to look at what works. As I see it, most institutions have some interest charges simply to ensure fees are paid on a timely basis. As I see it when a newspaper reports that this amounts to 19 per cent they are misrepresenting the reality and that no one is going to go a full year without paying their fees. When we have claims that these fees are a great burden when in fact they’re OSAP-eligible expenses, we also have some misperception. TV: If I may though, the data does show that most people are sitting with it between OSAP disbursement periods. DN: So in that period they will see this as an expense and they will wait to be paid back, and I understand that that is something that rankles, I get it. It also rankles when anyone else gets a bill with an interest charge on it, which is why we pay them. I would love to see some sensible compromise that found everyone happy our fees are paid on a timely basis and students feeling as though they are also incentivized to do their share to pay. TV: What is next?DN: I will go back to the ranks and I will try to be helpful to the institution in any way I can. I will do some private sector work and I will do some non profit and charitable work and try to stay out of the way. TV: Will you teach?DN: I hope so. I love teaching, and I really enjoyed research. I would like to live that life again, but I will have to take a little time to see how feasible that is. I mean, I’ve been at it 14 years as a full-time academic administrator as dean of Medicine and president and the jury is out as to whether I can retool and be effective as a researcher again. I’d like to give that a try, but it may be too late — the neurons may have gone to sleep permanently. TV: What is your favourite book?DN: Mr Bumbletoes of Bimbleton… That’s a sentimental choice. My grandparents on both sides were immigrants with limited education. My mother was a gifted student, but neither she nor her three brothers attended university. My father was determined to be a medical researcher, and was the only one of six children in his family to attend university. He arrived here at University College during the Depression without any family financial backing, and worked more or less full-time to support himself. There was no student aid. He made it as far as first-year Medicine, but couldn’t manage and dropped out. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my parents gave their four children a house full of books and a strong sense that we should all pursue higher education as far as it would take us. Among those books, Mr Bumbletoes was my childhood favourite. I am sorry that my father did not live to see his old oak desk in the office of the dean of Medicine at U of T. TV: Let me ask you one last question. If you came back to U of T 10 years from now, what would you hope the campus would look like?DN: I would hope they were still amazingly diverse, with the fabulous mix of students we have here from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures. I think one of the things that I feel best about is that we’ve had huge numbers of people over the last number of years work hard to promote a uniquely Canadian brand of accessible excellence here at U of T. I think it distinguishes us hugely from some of the Ivy League institutions with which we compete otherwise on the academic level, and I also think in the quality of our graduates — so I would want to see that same wonderful level of diversity. I would hope that we might on this campus have finally figured out a way to close down some of the traffic around King’s College Circle, so that this can be even more of a pedestrian space.I’d love to see some of the new buildings that are planned up and thriving and full of terrific students and faculty and staff, and I’ll be watching all of those developments with great interest. East and West, I would be really excited to see more of a sense of research buildings that enable more graduate students and graduate studies to thrive as per the 2030 plan as well as the outworking of some of the great plans they have underway. For example, in Scarborough the development of the North campus with the remediated land around the Pan Am Centre is going to be incredibly exciting, and I think they will have made big progress a decade from now.To the West, there’s infinite potential at the Mississauga campus and I can see any number of new programs emerging there that would again represent a change. They have an academcy of Medicine. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both Missisauga and Scarborough with academies of engineering or similar professional programs that are tied to St. George at some later date. I think the sense of a blend of all the historic architecture and all the facilities and greenspace is something that I hope will remain forever. It will always be a place I come back to with a sense of coming home. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Overwhelming support for colleges at Hart House Debate
Judges, audience, UTSU praise college system
The Opposition claimed victory at the Hart House Intercollegiate Debate on Wednesday.The motion “This House would abolish the college system at the University of Toronto” was defeated after the Opposition (the negating side in the British Parliamentary format of debate) impressed all five judges and the audience voted in a 2:1 ratio for them over the Government (the affirming side). The event attracted around 40 people.Louis Tsilivis, the Hart House Debates Committee (HHDC) secretary said that: “The issue of colleges resorting to secession in the face of obstinacy from the student government definitely played into” the choice of motion for the debate, referencing the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) fee diversion conflict. An article written in The Newspaper by last year’s UTSU president Shaun Shepherd, which questioned the value of the college system, also prompted Tsilvis to organize the debate.The UTSU declined the HHDC’s invitation to send a debater and a judge. UTSU vice-president, internal, Cameron Wathey, who declined on behalf of the union, explained that he is a strong supporter of the college system and that “no member of the executive committee thinks that abolishing the college system is a good idea.” In an email to Tsilivlis he said: “I’m sorry but we don’t feel as though engaging in this debate will help our efforts on collaboration and work with colleges on campus.”The Government’s arguments centred around equal funding, interactions with student government, provision of adequate services, and the adversarial relationship between the different colleges. In a comment on college pride set against university spirit, debater Veenu Goswani said: “The University of Toronto (U of T) consistently generates some of the lowest numbers in terms of how attached people feel towards their university.” On intercollegiate rivalry, Goswani said “All colleges build their sense of being special, or different from the others, on the sense that they are the best college.”Kathleen Elhatton-Lake, also debating for the Government, spoke about the issues faced by non-resident students. “They feel like they’re missing out on the normal college experience and they feel financially pressured to actually live in residence,” she argued. Elhatton-Lake went on to mention the value of negotiating power in one unified student body, and used the example of transportation costs included in tuition fees as something that individual colleges will not be able to negotiate.The Opposition spoke to the benefits of U of T’s unique college system: academic dons, registrar’s offices, writing centres, and interaction with a diverse body of students across every faculty. Kaleem Hawa of the Opposition pointed out that “A lot of students seek guidance [at their college] instead of going to counselling and psychological services, or the UTSU.” Deirdre Casey from the Opposition challenged the idea that commuters are excluded under the collegiate structure. “The reason why commuters would feel isolated without a college is because they would not be tied to a specific residence building,” she claimed.None of the debaters were actually of the opinion that the colleges should be abolished. Goswani stated afterwards: “I personally think that the college system is a great idea and the real take-away is how colleges can best try and move away from some the problems that we just discussed, like being too adversarial to each other.”Tsilivis was pleased with the discussion generated by the debate and said that it “made the college issue a very live one.” Although Tsilivis himself supports the college system, he believes that “thinking about college abolition can help get you in the headspace where you can think about those other issues.”
Student Societies Summit scheduled for October 7
The upcoming Student Societies Summit is causing increased tension among the parties concerned. Student representatives, including the heads of student government from each college and the Engineering Society (EngSoc), have been invited to discuss referenda by the Trinity College Meeting (TCM), Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC), and EngSoc, among other topics. The referenda called for the diversion of student fees, currently being paid to UTSU, to their respective student societies. The UTSU considers the referenda illegitimate.Announced on September 12, the summit will bring together representatives from over 20 student groups, as well as those from the factulty and administration. Student leaders have expressed varying degrees of confidence in the summit’s potential.UTSU president Munib Sajjad is concerned about those student groups who were not invited to attend, including clubs who would be directly affected by fee diversion, and campus-wide unions such as the Association of Part Time Undergraduate Students’ Union (APUS). Although those groups will have the opportunity to make written submissions, Sajjad feels their absence will have a real impact: “Statements only go so far” he said, adding: “I feel there’s real value in having everyone in the room.” Of those student groups who will have an in person presence on October 7, many remain skeptical of the summit’s ability to affect change.Mauricio Curbelo, president of EngSoc, holds the same position he has held since the referendum: he wants the UTSU fees diverted. Among numerous complaints, Curbelo is concerned about the significant cost that the UTSU maintains by having a salaried staff. “Engineering students made their wish clear in our referendum,” he said, “They would rather have services and representation provided by a more local organization that doesn’t spend 50 percent of its budget on salaries — one that is made up of actual students who understand what their life is like, rather than paid staffers and lifetime professional activists.”Ashkan Azimi, President of New College Student Council (NCSC), on the other hand, finds the notion of college governments wanting to take on the UTSU’s job problematic. He understands the concerns of the various student societies who want to defederate due to endemic complaints about the union. However, he points out that UTSU staff are full time employees who have copious resources at their disposal. It would be misguided, he argues, for any organization to try to take on the union’s responsibilities without an analogous infrastructure.“UTSU is composed of many full time employees, as well as a slew of volunteers,” he says. “They have all these resources at their disposal, and for these student societies, such as the NCSC, for us to want to tackle such tasks without having that administrative and financial backbone is very naive to me.”At least some of the defederating colleges do not seem to have a clear idea of what sort of changes they would effect if the UTSU’s funds were redirected to them. “What we have decided to do is to take this year as a reflection and planning period,” said Zack Medow, vice-president, external, when asked what VUSAC’s policy plans are in the event that defederation is approved. “Those sorts of questions are going to be asked over the course of the year,” said Medow, adding that he would submit any final plan to the students of Victoria College at the end of this year.Trinity and the EngSoc have more definite plans for this year. The EngSoc compiled a comprehensive report detailing the UTSU’s services and explaining for each one either how the EngSoc could provide it or why it is unnecessary. The document is similar to one prepared at Trinity. It revolves mainly around the contention that defederation could save engineering students the fees currently being paid to UTSU’s salaried employees, as EngSoc is staffed entirely by student volunteers.Benjamin Crase, co-head of Trinity College, agrees. “Trinity students understand that they see a terrible return for the fees they pay the UTSU,” he said. “Since the majority of student fees go towards paying their salaries and overhead costs, such dissatisfaction is not surprising. At Trinity, we believe that student volunteers, who have a vested interest in their fellow students, should run our
student government.”Some student governments have taken a decidedly ambivalent stance on the issue. The St. Michael’s College Student Union, (SMCSU), for instance, has weighed the potential advantages and disadvantages of diverting fees from the UTSU. Alex Zappone, president of the SMCSU, acknowledges that some criticisms of the union may be valid. “I can say on behalf of SMCSU, most bodies would of course have issues with the UTSU, but are largely concerned with developing St. Mikes and haven’t spend too much time on it,” he says. He added that he is curious to see what the results of the summit will be, and that while St. Mikes’ has considered fee diversion, no final decision, one way or the other, has been made.Professor Joe Desloges, who will serve as chair of the summit, expressed hope that all parties will enter discussions with an open mind, willing to seek a possible middle ground. However, the issue of whether or not paid staff are a wasted expense or a necessary resource for providing student services seems to be one on which student leaders disagree.The first meeting of the Summit will take place on October 7 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm in Simcoe Hall in the Governing Council chambers.
Frosh in photos
A visual recap of some of the highlights from #startUofT 2013
U of T Libraries 101
The definitive guide to the St. George campus library system
Looking for a place to study during midterm season? Here’s the definitive guide to the St. George campus library system:
Robarts Library | “The Beast”
It’s 24 hours before an exam, or an essay is due at midnight and it’s half an hour before the deadline; at the height of desperation, students shut themselves in Robarts Library. Many call this concrete monstrosity home — especially during night hours, when tired souls take to the first three floors for serious napping. Robarts is U of T’s largest library, and is fondly known as Fort Book, because of its imposing concrete stature and seemingly endless collection of books. Although you’ll meet some intense researchers and crazed insomniacs at Robarts, it also serves as a social hub for students across all three campuses, housing the largest number of books in the university and a cafeteria with a Starbucks line that is almost always out the door.Theme Song: “The Final Countdown” by EuropeSnack of choice: 12” Meatball Sub from the cafeteria
Gerstein Science Library | “The Hopeful Pre-Med”
E.J. Pratt | “The Hipster”
Home to Victoria College students, expect to see the artsy folk on campus getting their work done in Pratt library. Pratt offers optimal private space, with long mini-cubicles for individual students lining one side and a bar of window seats facing the scenic Victoria College residences on the other. The bottom floor contains some overflow stacks, as well as couch seating and vending machines for social interaction after hours of solitary study.Theme song: You’ve probably never heard of itSnack of choice: Sushi from Wymilwood Café in the Goldring Centre
Graham Library | “The Next Rhodes Scholar”
The Grahman Library takes up the centre wing of the beautiful Munk School building. Its popular reading rooms play host to lounging students who spend large portions of their days in the soft, welcoming Morris chairs — especially during colder months. Meanwhile serious studiers situate themselves in the surprisingly comfortable wooden chairs in front of the spacious individually-lit desks. Many windows boast beatiful views of Trinity College or of the gardens on Devonshire Place.Theme song: “Winter” from Vivaldi’s Four SeasonsSnack of choice: Lunch from The Buttery
A Guide to Arts at U of T
Find the perfect outlet for your creative expression
Welcome to U of T, a school with a diversity of students who, in turn, have a broad range of interests. That may seem like a cookie-cutter statement, but the endless list of Arts and Culture (A&C) clubs and societies at our university certainly does the cliché some justice. The A&C clubs and events at U of T range from college-specific to campus-wide. Each college has at least two of the following: a dramatic society, a newspaper, or an Arts Review. This guide highlights just some of the many artsy clubs and groups at U of T, some college-related and some not. There are way too many groups to list them all here, so explore the clubs fairs and Ulife to find even more.
This student life hub houses the historic and cozy Hart House Theatre which stages both student and professional plays and musicals year-round. Hart House also holds classes in dance, photography, filmmaking and theatre.University of Toronto Arts CentreThe University of Toronto Art Centre (UTAC) and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery are the campus’ two galleries, both of which offer a breadth of material — from artwork that dates to the Middle Ages to that of contemporary visual artists. Located in the centre of campus, it doesn’t hurt those seeking a quick foray into the art world between classes that these two galleries are closer than the AGO or the Gallery District.
Motion VicturesThis club began with a group of friends with a comedic bent, an improvisational tendency, and the good judgment to film and upload their performances to YouTube. Since its modest beginnings, Motion Victures has written and performed advertisements for the Bob — Vic’s comedy revue — and has created a feature film, all of which are on its YouTube account. (Email) Acta Victoriana
Vic’s annual literary journal, which has included the works of now-famous Canadians Margaret Atwood and Lester B. Pearson. (Website)
22 PagesA comic book club that allows students to team up with their peers to publish collaborative works. The club also gathers to discuss comic books and comic book culture, rendering it ideal for aspiring comic writers and artists. (Website | Email) The Art SocietyA forum for students engaging in artistic endeavors to meet, discuss their work, and share ideas. (Email)
Trinity College Literary InstituteAlso called “The Lit,” the Trinity College Literary Institute has been one of Trinity College’s most deeply-rooted traditions for nearly 200 years. Although it was originally a forum for serious debate surrounding current issues, it has now adopted a more satirical format — where the object of debate is often a joke and the objective is to make the audience laugh. (Email | Email) Trinity College Theological SocietyThe society meets weekly to discuss and debate theological and academic topics. The TCTS also hosts guest speakers and occasional outings. (Email)
Free Friday FilmsAs a reward for those tough weeks at school, enjoy a free film at the Innis Town Hall. The event, hosted by the Cinema Studies Student Union (CINSSU), features a diverse array of film styles — from French New Wave to
Hollywood blockbuster. (Email) Innis JamzA bi-monthly music session for both experienced and novice instrumentalists. Check out their Facebook page for more details.
Caribbean Film FestivalBesides the proverbial “sun and sand,” the Caribbean provides great fodder for documentaries and dramas. The festival is free and includes discussions with filmmakers, whose films shed light on Caribbean politics and culture. Although it is not formally a part of New College, the festival is sponsored by the Caribbean Studies Students Union (CARSSU), housed at the college, and the CINSSU. (Email) New FacesCheck out New Faces’ Facebook group for updates on events and auditions around campus.
St. Michael’s College
Kelly’s KornerHeld on the last Wednesday of every month by the St Michael’s College Student Union (SMCSU), Kelly’s Korner is an open mic night that allows students to showcase their artistic talents. Finger-snapping might not be mandatory, but St. Mike’s monthly coffee house certainly warrants it. Annual MusicalA surefire way to make new friends and sing off midterm stress. Past shows include Sweeney Todd and Hairspray. Auditions begin just after frosh week.
UC ReviewA collection of students’ short fiction, poetry, and visual art. Aside from being a great forum to have creative work published, the Review also allows students to get involved in other capacities, such as graphic design and editorial positions. (Email) The Gargoyle The Gargoyle glides past the drudgery of report journalism in favour of a sometimes farcical, sometimes serious consideration of things similar to art, politics, and sharks. In order to facilitate a tasteful and truthful conversation of the world we all tenuously occupy, The Gargoyle is accepting of made-up words, meta-isms and smartassery, and averse to poor writing, meta-meta-isms and dolphins.” (Email)