Business Board debates missed Health and Wellness appointment fees, following student concerns

U of T to develop new employee pension model, alongside University of Guelph, Queen’s University

Business Board debates missed Health and Wellness appointment fees, following student concerns

On November 27, the Business Board of U of T’s Governing Council held its second meeting of the 2019–2020 academic year. 

The Board continued its discussion on missed appointment fees at the Health and Wellness Centre, received reports on the University Pension Plan (UPP), and provided an update on the Divisional Court of Ontario’s strike-down of the Student Choice Initiative (SCI).

Health and Wellness missed appointment fees

After students expressed concerns on waiting periods, fees associated with student mental health services, and the stigma surrounding mental illness during the previous Business Board meeting, Vice-Provost Students Sandy Welsh presented a report on missed appointment fees regarding student health services to the Board.

Currently, U of T charges students missed appointment fees ranging from $40–100 for health and wellness services, mental health services, and group therapy sessions. The university collected $210,000 in missed appointment fees in the 2018–2019 academic year. 

These fees help subsidize the income doctors and medical professionals lose when students fail to show up to their appointment. Welsh further explained that the fees aim to deter students from last-minute cancellations, as missed appointments increase wait times and hurt students who are waiting for care.

In 2018–2019, U of T’s health and counselling services charged six per cent of the students they saw for missed appointments. Before U of T implemented missed appointment fees, the number of students who missed appointments was more than double, at 15 per cent. 

Data shows that missed appointment fees are effective in helping reduce late appointments and no-shows. However, several board members expressed concerns that the U of T is implementing an uncompassionate practice which financially punishes students who may have missed appointments due to anxiety and distress.

Board member Dr. K. Sonu Gaind noted that the missed appointment fee policy will harm the public perception of U of T regarding mental illness.

“It’s going to be very hard for the university — with whatever rationalization — to get around that perception,” Gaind said.

“Even… if the fees are effective, are they compassionate? Is the effectiveness worth the other consequences that happens?” another member asked. 

UPP Board of Trustees Chair announced

Together with the University of Guelph and Queen’s University, U of T is currently working with faculty unions and other staff associations to develop the UPP Ontario, a new pension plan which will cover employees across the three universities.  

The Governing Council previously determined the terms and benefits of the current pension model — known as the U of T Pension Plan. The U of T Pension Plan has been in effect since it was established in 1966.

The UPP is aiming to increase transparency and provide employees with an equal voice toward pension plan management. In order to achieve this objective, the new model will subject pension plan administration to oversight by a Board of Trustees, which will be comprised of both employees and employers. 

Angela Hildyard, Vice-President HR & Equity, announced that the UPP’s joint sponsors members representing the faculty associations, United Steel Workers, Canadian Union of Public Employees, U of T, University of Guelph, and Queen’s University unanimously selected Gale Rubenstein as the inaugural chair of the UPP Board of Trustees.

Rubenstein, a partner at the corporate law firm Goodmans LLP, has represented the province of Ontario on the corporate restructuring of both Chrysler and General Motors in 2009. 

The remaining members of the UPP Board of Trustees will be announced by the end of January.

Miscellaneous items

Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr reported that U of T is currently evaluating the technical impact of the divisional court decision that deemed the SCI unlawful. Implemented in September of 2019, the SCI previously allowed students in Ontario to opt out of incidental fees that the provincial government had deemed non-essential, such as clubs and various student services.

As of press time, access to the opt-out portal on ACORN has been suspended.

The next Business Board meeting will be held on February 3, 2020.

Ford government’s first Strategic Mandate Agreement hopes to tie funding to economic performance metrics

Funding requirements will drastically shift, negotiations ongoing

Ford government’s first Strategic Mandate Agreement hopes to tie funding to economic performance metrics

A year after the Ford government announced radical cuts to domestic tuition and financial assistance, the university and the province are sitting down for negotiations of the Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA), where the government hopes to place emphasis on students’ economic outcomes. The third of its kind, the SMA outlines domestic enrollment commitments and tuition fee structures from the university and funding commitments, based on enrollment and performance, from the province.

“As part of SMA3, we are shifting funding for universities and colleges to be more dependent on student, graduate, and economic outcomes,” wrote Ciara Byrne, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU), to The Varsity. “Students deserve an education that gives them the education and training necessary for rewarding careers that address labour market needs of today and in the future.”

The province, as part of its 2020–2021 budget, announced that it would be reducing the portion of provincial operating grants to Ontario universities and colleges based on enrolment, instead opting for performance-based funding to make up 60 per cent of postsecondary funding by 2024–2025.

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U of T receives nearly a quarter of its budget from provincial operating grants, of which performance-based funding makes up 1.4 per cent, soon to be up to 25 per cent for SMA3. Included in the budget announcement was the cutting of performance indicators from 28 to 10 for universities, of which one can be selected by the university.

The university has found some relief in the increasing number of international students, whose tuition costs fall under the university’s discretion, as opposed to domestic tuition, which is set by the province.

SMA2, which expires on March 31, had slowly made progress toward performance-based funding, as U of T’s announcement of the SMA2 signing reads: “While the university will still receive per-student funding from the province for both undergraduate and graduate programs, some funding will be moving into a differentiation envelope that will be based on performance.”

SMA2 had also outlined domestic enrollment for the university to decrease over the three-year stretch of 2017–2020 in response to Ontario’s changing demographics — which resulted in the university being short $88 million in its budget when the Ford government cut domestic tuition in 2019 by 10 per cent.

“Students and their families make great sacrifices to attend university and college. They have been told that if they worked hard and invested in university or college, they would find a high-quality job,” wrote Byrne. “That is increasingly not the case.”

The university boasts high performance in the new proposed funding metrics of economic outcomes of students, with a 93.9 per cent employment rate and employability rankings of 12th and 13th in Quacquarelli Symonds and Times Higher Education rankings.

TCU Minister Ross Romano told the Toronto Star that, after replacing former Minister Merilee Fullerton, he visited presidents and heads of all 45 colleges and universities in Ontario. Romano assured the Star that the metrics will not disadvantage liberal arts programs: “I wouldn’t be here if not for the arts and humanities.”

“The data is the biggest one,” Romano told the Star about what worries him the most. “Because if we do not have clean data, how can we expect institutions to be bound by these terms?”

The Varsity has reached out to U of T for comment.

Editor’s Note (January 20, 4:10pm): An earlier version of this article stated that the province would be reducing its provincial operating grants. In fact, the province will be reducing the proportion of operating grants based on enrolment, to be made up instead by performance based funding. The Varsity regrets the error. 

Nominees for Governing Council positions to be announced tomorrow

Eight student positions up for election

Nominees for Governing Council positions to be announced tomorrow

The official student candidates for Governing Council will be announced tomorrow, January 20 at 10:00 am. Nominations opened on January 7 at noon and ran until January 17 at 5:00 pm. There are eight student positions that must be re-elected each year to Governing Council. These students will have the chance to sit on U of T’s highest decision making body and oversee the university’s academic, business, and student affairs.

According to Governing Council’s webpage, effective council members are expected to be informed about important campus issues and processes, ask relevant questions, and exercise their right to vote at council meetings  — which usually occur six times per year. These council member votes will decide the direction of university policy. Recent policy changes approved by Governing Council include the controversial university-mandated leave of absence policy and U of T’s stand-alone policy on sexual violence and sexual harassment.

Governing Council’s chambers has seen significant unrest from unsatisfied students fighting for better mental health services over the past four years, including an occupation of Simcoe Hall and frequent protests outside of the hall during the council’s consideration and eventual passing of the university-mandated leave of absence policy. Council meetings also present an opportunity for questioning President Meric Gertler and other senior administration to clarify various issues from the university’s weather policy to confrontations on allegations of Campus Police misconduct.

Of the 50 members on Governing Council, only 30 are elected. Elected members consist of teaching staff, alumni, administrative staff, and a variety of students. Four full-time undergraduate students, two part-time undergraduate students, and two graduate students will be elected for one-year terms come the end of the campaign period.

Equity among Governing Council has been a contested issue for years — international students were ineligible to run for Council positions until 2015 when the University of Toronto Act was amended. In 2019, The Varsity’s own analysis of governors found that the council was largely male-dominated.

Students will have the chance to vote for their preferred candidates online starting February 3 at 9:00 am. Online votes and mail ballots must be received by February 14 at 5:00 pm. Nominees will be able to campaign up until the end of the voting period, but may only begin their campaigns on January 27.

Election results will be released on February 18. There is a three-day appeals process to protest any of the election outcomes, while the official declaration of the winners will not be released until February 21 at noon.

Editor’s Note (January 19, 7:06pm): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the University of Toronto Act was passed in 2015. In fact, the Act was passed in 1971 and amended to include international students on Governing Council in 2015. The Varsity regrets the error. 

Opinion: Increase Indigenous awareness training in U of T’s faculty of law

Critiques of stereotyping reveal from gaps in Indigenous awareness training

Opinion: Increase Indigenous awareness training in U of T’s faculty of law

Last month, first-year U of T law students criticized a final assignment for using “racial stereotypes” of Indigenous peoples.

The assignment featured a hypothetical situation where Indigenous children were taken out of the care of parents with substance use disorder and placed in foster care with a non-Indigenous family. After two years, the father, who had overcome alcohol use disorder, requested to see the children. The students were asked to write a memo on the situation, and take into consideration a 2017 Ontario law that prioritizes the maintenance of familial and cultural ties for Indigenous children.

Edward Iacobucci, Dean of the U of T law school, responded with an apology a week later. “I apologize whole-heartedly for the offence this assignment has understandably caused, especially to our First Nations and Métis students” wrote Iacobucci. “The faculty will consider means that we can adopt going forward to seek to ensure that something like this does not happen again.”

Looking closer at the assignment and the criticisms that it evoked, the initial problem wasn’t that the assignment was inherently stereotypical but that it was presented with a general lack of Indigenous awareness. Moving forward from this incident, U of T must incorporate more Indigenous awareness training for faculty and students.

There have been varying responses to this incident, from initial student complaints to the dean’s apology. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, shared her view, saying that there was nothing wrong with the assignment at its “face value,” because it was based on the fact that more than half of the children in foster care are Indigenous.

However, others argue that there should have been more engagement with experts in Indigenous law beforehand in order to avoid engaging with “troubling stereotypes,” as Iacobucci called them.

Indigenous voices are important in these situations, however, respecting Indigenous responses to this incident doesn’t necessarily ensure that something like this won’t happen again. Instead, there must be a concentrated effort toward increasing the base of Indigenous knowledge and awareness in the curriculum. By doing so, U of T would demonstrate a dedicated effort not only in reforming its own curriculum, but also in training a future generation of students whose actions will continue to remedy the gaps in our legal systems.

In an interview with, Iehnhotonkwas Bonnie Jane Maracle, a learning strategist at U of T’s First Nations House, expressed that she agreed with Blackstock’s initial impression, seeing this assignment as something necessary to educate students on the historical and ongoing oppression of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

“This is [a] fact… that’s the language of our lives, and if you’re going to be in law, you definitely have to be conditioned to what you’re going to be dealing with,” Maracle said.

However, as other students voiced in interviews with Law Times, the assignment came with a general lack of context, and should have considered the other harsher realities of the “whole story,” like “residential schools, the sixties scoop, [and] discrimination enabled by the Indian Act.”

Ironically, as Maracle also pointed out, the whole response to the article created an issue in itself, as the avoidance of issues related to Indig- enous peoples creates stereotypes.

In order to properly address reconciliation, we must train students, educators, and legal workers on the unique historical conditions which have shaped and reinforced the continued neglect of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

The need for integration of Indigenous content in our curriculum is made evident in a 2015 report, when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) implored the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to provide “appropriate cultural competency training,” highlighting the “history and legacy of residential schools,” “treaties and Indigenous rights, Indigenous law and Indigenous-Crown relations,” and “training in conflict resolution and anti-racism,” as areas of concern.

In British Columbia, all lawyers will be required to take a six-hour course covering these areas starting in 2021. All other Canadian provinces should make a similar effort in order to provide competency and awareness training to law students, and other faculties of study. U of T must join this effort, and increase its own Indigenous awareness training.

Maracle noted that the response to the assignment exemplified the continued stereotyping of Indigenous peoples as the result of a direct lack of implementation of the TRC recommendations.

Ironically, as Maracle also pointed out, the whole response to the article created an issue in itself, as the avoidance of issues related to Indigenous peoples creates stereotypes.

“All they could see,” Maracle said, “was the stereotypical aspect of it, not the fact that this was a learning experience. A lot of people are now aware and treading very lightly on what they see… It prevents people from actually looking closer. And especially lawyers, but you have a job to do, to look beyond that and at the facts.”

This assignment was an opportunity for law students to fully immerse themselves in a case that affects numerous Indigenous families each year in Canada. Rather than focusing on the reality that is the disproportionate amount of Indigenous children in the foster care system, reactions have centred on criticizing this assignment as stereotypical and offensive. This hypersensitive reaction distracts from the reality of this systemic inequality. While it is important to reflect upon the way we talk about Indigenous issues, we must not forget that these issues persist regardless of the way we phrase them.

Instead of being quick to label things as stereotypical — and consequently silence debate and discussion altogether — we must focus on reforming our institutions and curriculums so that there is an increased quality and quantity of Indigenous awareness training within our faculty and society.

Toryanse Blanchard is a second-year English, Environmental Biology, and Book and Media Studies student at New College.

Faculty of Law dean apologizes for assignment that featured Indigenous stereotypes

Dean maintains that this is not indicative of U of T shying away from difficult issues

Faculty of Law dean apologizes for assignment that featured Indigenous stereotypes

The Dean of the U of T Faculty of Law, Edward Iacobucci, emailed an apology to all first-year law students in December after an assignment garnered backlash from law students for using racial stereotypes of Indigenous people. A Globe and Mail article drew attention to the story, questioning whether this was discouraging students’ real-world preparation skills.

The assignment asked students to write a legal memo about the effects that the new Child, Youth and Family Services Act would have on a hypothetical case, which involved Indigenous children in foster care, whose parents were experiencing alcohol and substance use disorders.

A recurring racial stereotype of Indigenous peoples is that they are genetically predisposed to alcohol and substance use disorders. However, there is no scientific evidence for this claim. For Indigenous communities, alcohol and substance use disorders are linked to historical social conditions, such as the trauma inflicted by colonial policies like residential schools.

The case summary states that the father had recovered and wanted to continue a relationship with his children against the wishes of the foster parents, a non-Indigenous couple who wished to end all contact between the children and their father and pursue adoption.

Along with his apology, Iacobucci has provided an alternative assignment and promised to consult with the law school’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee in the hopes of avoiding similar situations in the future.

In the Globe and Mail article, Cindy Blackstock, a McGill University professor of social work and member of the Gitksan First Nation, questioned whether students would have the capacity to take on these cases after graduation if they hadn’t already faced them in school.

Blackstock noted that the “reality is that First Nations kids are overrepresented among children in child welfare.” She further contextualized the issue as linked to “poverty, poor housing and substance misuse linked to multigenerational trauma arising from colonialism writ large and residential schools in particular.”

“Striving to be respectful in a discussion is not at all equivalent to striving to avoid discussion,” Iacobucci wrote to The Varsity. “There is no legal issue in the ‘real world’ that we would be unwilling to teach our students.”

Iacobucci further emphasized that these discussions need to occur in the proper contexts.

The President of U of T’s Students’ Law Society, Morgan Watkins, also maintained that the law school is not shying away from any tough issues. “The school hosts discussions on some very difficult cases that have involved Indigenous people… that have been in the media,” Watkins said, citing talks which concerned the cases of Colten Boushie and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

However, the assignment purely concerned instructing students on writing legal memos; the class did not delve into the history of Indigenous people in Canada or child welfare law. For this reason, Watkins believes that the assignment “really flattens and glosses over any of the context.”

Watkins explained that it’s important to ensure that students have the right “repertoire of knowledge” before giving an assignment such as this one. Watkins does not claim to speak for Indigenous students, or the student body in general, but was present for discussions surrounding the assignment.

Leslie Anne St. Amour, an Algonquin law student from U of T’s class of 2020, wrote to Law Times that there are alternative ways to introduce Indigenous law to students.

St. Amour elaborated that, “The law school has a Manager of Indigenous Initiatives who could have been consulted in the writing of the assignment in order to prevent the display of stereotypes with no context that students received.”

U of T remembers six students who died in Iran plane crash

Community mourns, memorial service held at Multi-Faith Centre

U of T remembers six students who died in Iran plane crash

Students, faculty, and community members came together for a packed memorial service at the Multi-Faith Centre on Friday for the six U of T students, and eight U of T community members overall, who died in the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 plane crash on January 8. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the next day that Iran had mistakenly shot down the airliner, which killed all 176 passengers and crew, including 57 Canadians.

The incident occurred amidst escalating Iran-US tensions this month. Hours earlier, Iran had fired missiles into Iraq, aimed at US and allied military bases in response to the American assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani on January 3.

“On behalf of the entire University of Toronto community, let me say first and foremost how profoundly heartbroken we are,” said President Meric Gertler. “We extend our deepest condolences to the families, the friends, the classmates, and to the teachers of those who lost their lives.”

Following a memorial service held at the Multi-Faith Centre on Friday, a service was also held in Convocation Hall.
HANNAH CARTY/THE VARSITY

Mojtaba Abbasnezhad

Mojtaba Abbasnezhad, 26, was a first-year PhD student in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering.

Pooya Poolad, a friend of Abbasnezhad, wrote to The Varsity, “He was one of the most talented and intelligent guys I knew.” They had known each other since they studied at the same university for their bachelor’s degrees and reconnected when Abbasnezhad came to U of T.

In the same department, Poolad and Abbasnezhad worked on the same floor in the Bahen Centre for Information Technology and saw each other frequently. “Right before he [left] for Iran, we were sitting at my apartment, planning and dreaming about the future, and thinking what should we do for our PhD,” Poolad wrote.

Mohammad Asadi Lari

Mohammad Asadi Lari, 23, was a second-year joint MD and PhD student in the Faculty of Medicine, and was in the crash along with his sister, Zeynab.

He co-founded and served as the managing director of an organization called STEM Fellowship, a non-profit organization that helps provide opportunities for youth in STEM.

Sacha Noukhovitch, founder and President of STEM Fellowship, wrote that Mohammad “worked tirelessly to develop the organization’s mission and vision.”

STEM Fellowship’s statement describes him as a “visionary,” and adds that “he was also a compassionate leader who went above and beyond – fostering a strong community, developing others’ potential, and inspiring them to unite around a common cause with his humanitarian ethos.” He also co-founded the Canadian Association of Physician Innovators and Entrepreneurs.

“In a program full of stars, Mo shined brightly,” said Professor Nicola Jones of the Faculty of Medicine. She remembered him as someone with broad interests, who was “very passionate about being a clinician-scientist.”

Zeynab Asadi Lari

Zeynab Asadi Lari, 21, was in her fourth year pursuing a bachelor of science at UTM. Matineh Panah, a U of T student who spoke at the memorial service, described Zeynab as “full of life, dreams, hopes,” adding that “she wanted to be a doctor.”

Zeynab also worked at STEM Fellowship, creating its human resources department, and spearheading the creation of a branch of STEM Fellowship at UTM. She was the founder and president of the UTM branch of STEM Fellowship.

The statement on behalf of STEM Fellowship describes her as a “creative, hard-working, committed young leader who made invaluable contributions to STEM Fellowship.”

Zeynab was a health and mental health advocate, serving as a mental health network coordinator for the Youth Mental Health Association, and a Youth Member for Young Canadians Roundtable on Health. “I know if Zeynab was here, she would want me to advocate for mental health,” said Panah.

Mohammad Amin Jebelli

Mohammad Amin Jebelli was a graduate health science student in translational research and a physician.

Jebelli was recognized for his contributions to an online forum for helping international students adjust to international life. “Every time someone would post a question, a concern, he would constantly reply any hour of the night,” said Panah. “He would offer guidance and his help in any form he can… He was just always willing to help.”

He was also remembered for his “kindness to other students” by Professor Joseph Ferenbok of the translational research program. “There are hundreds of people whose lives he touched that recognize him.”

Mohammad Amin Beiruti

Mohammad Amin Beiruti, 29, was a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science.

When Panah spoke with Beiruti’s colleagues, they reported that he was soft-spoken and kind. “He was very careful on how he treated others. He talked with kindness and grace.”

Panah shared an anecdote that when Beiruti could not attend an international research conference, he had a friend present his work for him. “He was passionate about advancing technology.”

“He cared about the impact of his research and wanted to make the world a better place,” said Professor Yashar Ganjali.

Mohammad Saleheh

Mohammad Saleheh, 32, was a PhD student in computer science. Saleheh was in the crash with his wife, Zahra Hasani, a prospective U of T student herself. They had immigrated to Canada only a year and a half ago.

“When I asked about Mohammad Saleheh, everyone talked about his bright mind,” said Panah. “They said he was the humblest genius they knew.”

“It was really my great privilege to know and to work with my PhD student, Mohammad Saleheh,” said Professor Eyal de Lara. They had known each other for three years, working together before Salaheh became a student of de Lara. “He was amazingly good at what he did,” said de Lara. He was also a teaching assistant, and “students really just loved him.”

Opinion: Late announcements, callous comments — U of T has yet to centre students in a meaningful way

Both research and student experiences show a disappointing history of reactive action on the part of the administration

Opinion: Late announcements, callous comments — U of T has yet to centre students in a meaningful way

Content warning: discussions of suicide.

U of T students are well aware of the horror stories told of the university that scare away potential applicants: professors are unnecessarily hard, students fail half of their classes, and — my personal favourite — the university is full of anti-social, academic-obsessed losers. Nonetheless, the University of Toronto is still the most prestigious school in Canada.

That being said, it maintains its status as an academically competitive school by neglecting the well-being of its students.

Failure to support students

In September, the Bahen Centre for Information Technology witnessed its third apparent suicide in the span of less than two years. Many students believe that this speaks to a lack of support for mental health services at U of T.

Students have criticized U of T’s mental health services and policies, but Dr. Ellen Hodnett, the university’s ombudsperson, accused students of using misinformation to resist the university-mandated leave of absence policy — a policy which “allows the university to place students on a leave of absence if they exhibit severe mental health problems that the university feels pose a potential risk of serious harm to themselves or others.” This occurred during a Governing Council meeting on October 24 — a stance that the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) found “belittling.”

Hodnett’s comments are similar to a pattern we’ve seen among university representatives, who time and again showed that they will not prioritize student concerns above university administration. Unfortunately, Hodnett’s response is just one example of an instance where students feel ignored and belittled. Instances like these discourage students and student representatives from engaging with university policies and, consequently, lead to a resentful student populace.

The subversion of students’ voices extends outside of policy-making; it even includes their basic safety and day-to-day campus life. Last year, the U of T dismissed students’ concerns that inclement weather was dangerous, and Vice-President & Provost Cheryl Regehr suggested that students could simply stay overnight in Robarts Library during harsh weather conditions.

Regehr’s comments gave students two choices: let your grades suffer or suffer hazardous conditions. Recent updates to the cancellation of classes policy acknowledge the error of the university’s untimely cancellations, but this is a change that is well overdue, as U of T is yet again reactively mediating a long-established issue. 

These examples do not include the long history of complaints over inaccessible loan and bursary systems, critiques concerning U of T’s lack of campus culture, concerns about student safety, and frustration over U of T’s mental health services. 

Importance of the student voice

Several academic sources agree that the student body’s voice and culture are both important to universities. Barbara Sporn, a professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, noted that “universities are complex social organizations with distinctive cultures,” and Joseph Simplicio, who authored several books concerning university education, argues that “a university’s culture, tradition, and values are not only important, they are vital to the wellbeing of the institution because they provide stability and continuity.”

However, a lack of culture and understanding of students’ needs can make it difficult for administration to properly manage higher education institutions. “Changing environmental conditions exert strong influence on… universities,” explained Sporn. Simplicio further added that “the delicate balance of all [university] interactions can be quickly upset.” Scholars agree that university culture and its impact on students is important, yet it feels like U of T has done little to treat these factors with the weight they deserve.

According to a study published in the Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy, an unhappy, stressed student body harbours poor performance in studying and learning. It also leads to “low social readjustment,” poor personal hygiene, psychological anxiety, indecision, and depression among students.

According to a 2004 poll from The Princeton Review, U of T has “the least happy students” in North America. In response, U of T’s vice-provost accused The Princeton Review of “trying to sell books” under skewed research methods.

I do not meant to belittle U of T as an institution — quite the contrary. I love this university, the high quality of education it provides, the clubs I get to be a part of, and my work within the community. It is because I love our students and this institution that I care about the strength of our community. I proudly wear U of T merchandise, and I brandish the university’s name on my social media pages.

Although U of T has its fair share of problems, I see that administration is slowly changing to amend some concerns. I know that U of T can do better, and it must.

The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one, and one of the U of T’s biggest problems is its band-aid solutions. The administration has the capacity to make strides in its policies to better accommodate student concerns it just has to be more proactive.

Morgan McKay is a second-year Criminology student at Woodsworth College.

UTSG: Paddling Down Memory Lane – U of T Concrete Canoe Event

Calling out to all University of Toronto Concrete Canoe friends!

Are you a past/current canoe member? Are you interested in supporting the UofT Concrete Canoe community? This event is for YOU!

With this Mix & Mingle event, we’d like to bring together the canoe community from across generations and trace through the stories of UofT Concrete Canoe with its over 30 years of history.