U of T’s proposed smoke-free policy — which will ban most forms of smoking effective January 1 — will not apply to the three federated colleges of University of St. Michael’s College (USMC), the University of Trinity College, and Victoria University, though they are all in the process of creating similar smoking bans.
U of T’s policy also will not apply to U of T-affiliated Toronto School of Theology (TST)’s Knox College, Regis College, St. Augustine’s Seminary, and Wycliffe College. These institutions are independent of the University of Toronto Act, meaning that they have their own governance processes.
USMC is currently undergoing a consultation process on a smoking ban before a recommendation is made to the university’s Collegium, its governing body, in the spring.
According to President David Sylvester, USMC has consulted senior administration, St. Michael’s College Student Union leaders, staff, and faculty thus far. They are also finalizing a community survey.
“We’re not going to invite U of T into our consultation; we weren’t part of theirs… It really is up to us to talk about this and consult with our community,” said Sylvester in an interview with The Varsity.
A smoke-free policy would cover all of USMC’s grounds, including St. Basil’s Collegiate Church. Loretto College Women’s Residence is a separate property, so a separate policy would have to be implemented.
“Whatever policy we develop would include all of our buildings, all of our lands. Of course, like U of T and the other [federated colleges], we’re intersected with public streets, so it complicates matters,” said Sylvester.
Sylvester added that USMC will review U of T’s policy to ensure that its own will not miss important considerations, such as accommodations, and guaranteed that it would allow smoking for ceremonial and medicinal purposes.
According to Victoria University’s Bursar and Chief Administrative Officer Ray deSouza, the administration is consulting with students, faculty, and staff but “there is no time line at this point.” The final policy would eventually have to go to the Board of Regents for a final resolution.
In an email to The Varsity, Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC) President Jayde Jones wrote that VUSAC has not been involved in drafting or consultations regarding the policy, although representatives have had discussions with Victoria University administration.
“It is important to recognize that students living with addiction are disproportionately members of marginalized communities… In light of this, we are advocating for Vic to develop permanent, accessible, safe, and comfortable smoking spaces on campus,” wrote Jones.
Jones said that Dean of Students Kelley Castle told student representatives that smoking cessation programs would be made available on Victoria University’s campus. deSouza added that smoking accommodations for Indigenous ceremony and medicinal purposes would be permitted.
University of Trinity College
Trinity College’s Director of Communications Young Um confirmed that a smoke-free policy at Trinity College is under consideration, and that the college “will be working through [its] own governance process at the Senate and Board of Trustees.”
Um did not comment on whether Trinity has consulted with U of T over its policy or what the expected timeline for the policy’s possible implementation is.
The Board of Trustees is composed of 28 members of the college and is responsible for approving policy recommendations made by the Senate. The Senate is concerned with the establishment of academic policy.
The TST is a U of T-affiliated consortium of theological colleges, including USMC, the University of Trinity College, and Emmanuel College. Each college under the TST has its own governance structure and would be responsible for implementing its own smoke-free policy.
Knox College, located near Convocation Hall at UTSG, and St. Augustine’s Seminary, located in Scarborough, both have existing smoke-free policies.
Senior management at Wycliffe College wrote to The Varsity, “As with most of our policies, [Wycliffe] will follow the University of Toronto’s lead in implementing a Smoke Free Policy.” Implementation would go through Wycliffe’s own governance process, including its Health and Safety Committee.
Regis College is also likely to follow U of T’s policy, although the urgency of implementing such a policy is unclear. In an email to The Varsity, Regis College President Thomas Worcester wrote, “Smoking of tobacco is a really non-issue at Regis, and seems likely a matter from the last century! The battle to eliminate smoking from campus has been largely won, and a while ago.”
Speaking at the Business Board meeting on November 26, Vice-President Human Resources & Equity Kelly Hannah-Moffat said that enforcement of U of T’s smoke-free policy would primarily focus on educating the community about the risks of smoking and secondhand smoke.
In a statement to The Varsity, U of T spokesperson Elizabeth Church wrote, “Training is planned for campus police with a view to educating our community across our three campuses. We will work with our college partners when the details of their policies are in place.”
At USMC, Sylvester likewise emphasized that enforcement of a policy would focus on education. However, legal issues that may arise in enforcement of the policy would still fall to Campus Police rather than MCOR, the private security firm that USMC employs.
Since no draft of a policy at Victoria University has yet been released, Jones said it is unclear whether VUSAC’s concerns, including enforcement, will be addressed.
The TST did not respond to a request for comment.
Editor’s Note (December 19, 7:20 pm): The article has been updated to remove a statement Jones made incorrectly about a planned timeline at Victoria.