On November 23, U of T’s Vice-Provost, Students Sandy Welsh presented a summary of non-academic discipline cases at the university during the 2020–2021 academic year to the University Affairs Board. Her presentation indicated a limited change in the number of offences from the previous year.
The Code of Student Conduct prohibits various offences, ranging from unauthorized entry to unauthorized possession of a firearm. The report presented to the board provided an overview of all the total cases and types of offences and categorized them by faculty, college, and campus.
The report shows that there were a total of six non-academic offence cases during the 2020–2021 period, involving nine infractions in total — rates quite similar to those seen in the previous year but half as high as the year before the onset of the pandemic.
These new cases include six ‘offences against persons,’ a category that refers to anything that puts others at risk, including sexual harassment and assault. This number has tripled from the previous year. However, the rates of disruption offences, which were the biggest category last year, decreased. There was one offence that involved the destruction of university property.
Three non-academic offence cases were reported at the School of Graduate Studies. There was a notable lack of cases at UTM, which saw offences balloon last year. New College, Trinity College, and the Faculty of Applied Sciences & Engineering each reported one case.
In certain circumstances, the Code of Student Conduct outlines certain “interim measures” and “interim conditions” that can be applied where cases are more severe and when actions may be needed to protect the broader student population.
The 2020–2021 year also saw only one case resolved within six months and three resolved within 12 months. In the previous year, no cases were resolved within six months, and five cases were resolved in 12 months. The university had attributed this increase in resolution time to the pandemic.
Disclosure: The writer is on the University of Toronto Students’ Union’s First Year Council for the 2021–2022 academic year.