University Updates is a new section where we’ll summarize important outcomes in U of T governance that we’ve reported on from both the university and student unions. Here are some key developments from this summer.
April 28: The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) hires fourth-year health science and psychology student Jasnoor Sandhu as vice-president campus life for the 2023–2024 school year.
Sandhu seeks to organize events that serve the diverse communities on UTM’s campus and center campus life at the Student Centre. Although students elect the other UTMSU executives, the union’s bylaws require that the board of directors appoint this position.
May 10: The UTSC Campus Affairs Committee discusses two proposed extra-departmental units, which are interdisciplinary programs that would provide courses, collaborative graduate programs, and research opportunities.
The Institute for Resilient and Inclusive Societies and Ecosystems (iRISE) will focus on natural systems as they relate to humans’ well-being. On June 9, the committee approved the establishment of iRISE and, on June 27, the Executive Committee approved the unit, completing the approval process.
The FLOURISH Centre for Community Arts and Social Wellness, if approved, would study and encourage the use of art to advocate for and serve communities. At the May 10 meeting, the UTSC admin said they planned to further consult with the provost’s office before presenting the FLOURISH Centre for the committee’s approval.
May 25: The Academic Board approves plans to renovate and expand Innis College. The plans include creating new entrances to increase accessibility and expanding the Innis Café space, as well as renovations to existing rooms and a new building addition. The university has terminated the Innis Café owners’ lease in light of the construction, and will not be giving them priority of contract when the space reopens. The owners told The Varsity that they were unsure if they would return to the college.
Following the Academic Board meeting, the Business Board and the Executive Committee approved the funding and overall scope of the project. During the construction, which is set to last until July 2025, students will have reduced access to parts of the college.
June 14: The Collegium of University of St. Michael’s College (USMC), which manages the college’s finances, agrees to fully divest from fossil fuel companies by 2030 at the latest. Climate Justice UofT applauded the news and told The Varsity that the divestment only came after years of student organizing and meetings with USMC administration.
The move comes two months after Victoria University agreed to divest its portfolio from fossil fuel companies by 2030, following a sit-in Climate Justice UofT also organized. The University of Trinity College remains the only federated college to not announce plans to divest.
June 27: The Governing Council approves the establishment of the New College-based African Studies Centre, which began operating on July 1. The centre will facilitate the undergraduate African Studies Program and aims to foster connections between faculty members to expand research in the field.Read more governance news online at thevarsity.ca.