At today’s Governing Council meeting, about a half dozen students — led by University of Toronto Students’ Union president Munib Sajjad — protested outside while the Council voted near-unanimously to move the Transitional Year Program (TYP). The vote is a culmination of years of at-times acrimonious conflict between student activists intent on preserving the program and the administration. The meeting was held under lockdown, with security guards at the door and only pre-approved attendees allowed in. Governing Council meetings are normally open to the public.
The TYP is a full-time, eight-month program intended for adults who do not have the formal qualifications for university admission. The TYP will be moved from its current home at 49 St. George St. to Woodsworth College. Forty-nine St. George St. is set to be demolished and will serve as the future site for the Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Members of the TYP community expressed concern over the lack of student consultation over the proposed change. During the meeting, students outside Simcoe Hall, who were denied entry to the meeting, chanted “Stop the cuts” and “Long live TYP.”
Inside the meeting, a number of students also spoke out against the proposed changes. Carla Rodney, a fourth-year TYP student, expressed concern over the lack of student consultation. “This is our life you’re deciding on, but no one wants to come and see us,” she said in a speech to the Governing Council.
Yolen Bollo-Kamara, vice-president, equity of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) also expressed concern over the lack of student consultation. “Students feel they are being let down by the University of Toronto,” she stated. “TYP’s proposed move adds further concern.” Representatives of the Association of Part Time Undergraduate Students’ and the Graduate Students’ Union were also present to oppose the move.
Provost Cheryl Regehr, who has served as point person throughout much of the negotiations with TYP, brushed off concerns that the move will eventually lead to the closure of the program “There is no intention to end the TYP program,” Regehr said in a speech to the Governing Council. “There is no question that we want to continue providing supports.”
Regehr also indicated that she was unaware of any plans to reduce the number of students in the TYP.
Correction Sunday March 2, 2014; A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the vote moved TYP under the administration of the Faculty of Arts & Science. This is inaccurate, TYP remains independent of the faculty.