At a University Affairs Board meeting on March 11, the board discussed several changes to U of T’s clubs recognition policy, along with transcript initiatives. The board also passed ancillary fee increases and U of T’s operating budget.
Campus groups recognition policy
U of T Vice-Provost Students Sandy Welsh gave an overview of the proposed changes to the Policy on the Recognition of Campus Groups, which was last revised in 1993. The university has been holding in-person consultations for these changes, and online consultations will be open until March 27. For starters, the term ‘campus groups’ will be changed to ‘student groups,’ to reflect that the available clubs funding and space on campus should go to students and not external groups. While group membership can still extend beyond current students, the executives of recognized student groups must be registered U of T students, something that was not required under the old policy. An individual can also cannot serve as the financial signing officer for more than one group. Another new change requires groups to have the phrase “student group” in their name if they also use “U of T” or “University of Toronto.” The current policy also does not have a minimum number of members required for a group to be recognized. The proposal sets a minimum of 10 members, though Welsh commented that this number is really a placeholder, and she hopes to get feedback from the community on whether it should change.
The Academic Board approved three fee increases for Student Life, Kinesiology and Physical Education, and Hart House. All three increases to student fees passed through the Council on Student Services, of which all five representative student societies are a part.
Student Life is changing its fee structure to separate the Health & Counselling and Student Services. “We’ve prioritized our resources around Health & Counselling,” said David Newman, Executive Director of Student Experience, about the new fee structure.
Fees for Health & Counseling will see a 8.83 per cent sessional increase for full- and part- time students. The Student Services fee will see a 10.64 per cent increase. This means that full-time students at the St. George campus will be paying $81.47 in counselling fees and $98.89 in student services fees beginning next year.
Newman noted that Student Life has hired an Indigenous wellness coordinator, who will be located in the First Nations House. The budget increase is also going toward a “resiliency program” to combat mental health problems through programs that teach coping skills and an increase in counsellors available for low-risk students.
The Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education (KPE) fee, which runs all gyms and sports on campus, will see a 2.3 per cent increase for full- and part-time students at all three campuses. The budget increase will go primarily toward compensation — as KPE is the biggest on-campus employer of students — and annual facility reviews.
The fee for Hart House will also increase by 7.63 per cent for full- and part-time students. Hart House Warden John Monahan noted that the fee increase will go toward performing construction on the Arbor Room, which has previously faced setbacks, and increasing accessibility, particularly through the creation of more accessible washrooms.
Enrolment Services also gave a presentation on its transcript initiatives. Students have been able to request electronic transcripts on ACORN since November 2019. The electronic transcripts are available in 30 minutes or less, as opposed to longer waits for printed transcripts.
An Enrolment Services representative noted that the paper transcripts are easier to forge, and as such, their new system is much more secure.
The office is also working on creating a more comprehensive transcript, which could display a student’s co-curricular record along with their academic record and any scholarships or awards that a student has received.