Report: March 8, 2006

UNVERSITY OF TORONTO AT MISSISSAUGA

ERINDALE COLLEGE COUNCIL

REPORT OF THE ERINDALE COLLEGE COUNCIL meeting held on Wednesday, March 8, 2006 at 3:15 p.m., in the Council Chamber, room 3130, South Building, UTM.

PRESENT: R. Beck (in the Chair), I. Orchard, R. deSouza, R. Reisz, A. Wensley, J. Lim, S. McCarthy, E. Goettler, L. Oliver, P. King, P. Hannaford, T. Westwood, B. Adeoye, V. Glebov, M. Ali, S. Hawrychuk, J. Seel, T. Remmel, G. Richter, S. Kessler, A. Giles, S. Salih, B. Kolerinwa, W. Khogali, L. Kaplan, K. Duncliffe, I. Still, I. Whyte, R. Arora, L. Gaspini, J. Tran, W. Ghobriel, H. Aboghodieh, K. Murty, G. Didiano, D. Kreuger, D. Crocker, A. Lange, A. Vyas, U. Krull, C. Bryson, L. Paris, P. Handley, M.A. Mavrinac, T. L. Gervais, L. Bailey, A. Bellerby, C. Jones, J.P. Paluzzi, M. Rennie, N. Kanda, J. McCurdy-Myers, S. Wahid, J. Stirling, S. Munro, J. Sills, B. Gupta, S. Abrahim, R. Carroll, D. Martins, C. Mechedjian, S. Hindawi
REGRETS: C. Boyd, C. Capewell, K. Giuliani

The Chair announced that because the last meeting of Council was adjourned without completing the scheduled order of business, the current meeting would be a continuation of that meeting and would begin with that unfinished business.

1. Minutes of Previous Meeting (December 15, 2005 Special meeting & February 1, 2006)

The report of the December 15, 2005 was approved. (R. Reisz/I. Orchard) The report of the February 1, 2006 meeting was approved. (I. Orchard/S. McCarthy)

2. The Vice-President and Principal’s Report

a) Hearing Officer for UTM:

The Vice-President and Principal stated that the Code of Student Conduct, provided for the appointment of a hearing officer for a term of up to three years by the Council of each division, to decide on complaints under the code made against student members of that division. He was pleased to nominate Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat as the hearing officer for UTM. Professor Hannah-Moffat specializes in both theoretical and applied criminology and her research explores existing systems, including social policy, law, sentencing, and incarceration. She focuses on the experiences of marginalized populations in the Canadian correctional system.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT, Erindale College Council approve the appointment of Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat to serve as UTM’s Hearing Officer to decide on complaints under the Code of Student Conduct, for a term of three years. (I. Orchard/A. Wensley)

The chair opened the floor to discussion.

A member inquired about the duties of a hearing officer. The Vice-President and Principal explained that in the case of a violation to the Code, a distinct process exists. If the head of a division considers that the conduct complained of appears to fall under the Code of Student Conduct, he may request the Investigating Officer to conduct an investigation of the case and to submit a report. If, on the basis of this report, the head of the division concludes that an offense may have been committee, he or she would request that a hearing take place to determine whether the accused has committed the alleged offence. This hearing would then be chaired by the hearing officer, who makes a decision based on the evidence presented at the hearing.

In response to a member’s question about the selection of the hearing officer, the Vice-President and Principal explained that professor Hannah-Moffat had been the hearing officer for the past three years, and has agreed to serve in that capacity for another term. He added that the decision to nominate her was done in consultation with the Dean of Student Affairs. Regarding student participation in the process, Professor Orchard, noted that the Dean had discussed this appointment within his portfolio, which includes staff members in the various student life areas as well as students.

The motion was put. The motion was carried.

b) Naming of the CCIT building:

The Vice-President and Principal referred to the memorandum describing the rationale and the process for the naming proposed, which was distributed with the agenda. The building that is referred to as the Communication, Culture and Information Technology Building had never been formally named. It has been referred to as CCIT for short as a result of the original project. Through numerous emails and advertisements urging the UTM community to suggest names, (Name the Building Challenge) the entire community was engaged in the naming. Professor Orchard explained that the building referred to as the Communication, Culture and Information Technology Building (CCIT), houses the Human Communication Lab (HCL), which is a part of the Centre for Research on Biological Communication Systems; the Institute of Communication and Culture, with programs associated with professional writing and communication, Biomedical Communication, Fine Art/Centre for Visual Media Culture, CCIT, and the Blackwood Gallery. Its facilities include computer labs, language labs, e-gallery, e-theatre, image bar, lecture theatres, seminar rooms, the psychology research facilities, student social and study space and a coffee shop. The teaching facilities are used by numerous programs, other than those housed there.

Professor Orchard noted that the naming committee received over 170 suggested names, including names of individuals either associated with the university as a whole, or with UTM. A petition from over 500 students urged the committee to keep the CCIT name. He explained that the naming committee considered this petition as well as the over 170 other name suggestions. In the end the Committee decided that it was inappropriate to name a building with so many components, after one individual program of the university. Following consultation centrally about naming the building after a particular individual, which was not possible, the committee decided on a compromise, the Communication, Culture and Technology building or CCT, which is also the three letter code for the courses within the CCIT program. Professor Orchard stressed that students on the naming committee alerted members that despite the above mentioned petition, they had heard from many other students who did not feel it was appropriate to name a building after one undergraduate program.

The naming committee took into account these suggestions and thoughts, and was encouraged by the interest generated by the challenge.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT, Erindale College Council approve that the building referred to as the CCIT building be named the “Communication, Culture and Technology” building. Attachment: Memorandum from the Vice-President and Principal. (I. Orchard/R. Reisz)

The Chair opened the floor to discussion.

A member spoke against the motion, stating that SAC received a petition not only from CCIT students, but other individuals who thought that CCIT was a better name because many other students identified the building with that name. He urged student members of Council to vote against this motion.

The Chair accepted a comment from a guest speaker, while reminding members to inform the Council Office if they wished to invite non-members to speak to a motion. A member introduced Dmitry Sokolov, President of the CCIT Club, who organized the above student petition. The Chair invited Mr. Sokolov to speak. Mr. Sokolov referred to the petition of 500 students, objecting to the naming of the building to CCT. He pointed out that publicly available documents and the web all referred to the building as CCIT and therefore students have come to know the building by that name. He noted that the name CCIT has come to represent, not only the program but the breadth of technology involved therein. Citing the trend of many other educational institutions’ focus on information technology, he objected to the removal of the word “information” from Communication, Culture and Information Technology. The students in the program also feel that it is important for a new and developing program to have representation on campus and to the outside community through the building name. He also stated that the consultation process was not sufficient and that the 500 students on the petition represented the voice of the campus, not the students on the naming committee. He added non-CCIT program related departments in the building also supported this petition and that many of the departments housed in the CCIT building, which are stated as not directly related to the CCIT program hold cross appointments between CCIT and other departments.

The Vice-President and Principal assured members that the naming committee considered all of the above issues and still felt that the recommended change was appropriate.

Another member spoke in favour of the motion, commenting that he had a concern with naming any building after one program. He added that naming the building CCIT may ostracize students who are not part of the CCIT program and they may not feel welcome to use the building.

Another member urged students to vote against the motion, and made the following points: in a time of under funding, it would be a waste of money and time to change existing signs; the building has to do with information technology and therefore that wording should remain as part of the name; and that the students consulted as well as the CCIT Club, were against this proposal.

Another member stated that the Erindale College Student Union (ECSU) also passed a motion against this proposal, citing similar reasons to the ones mentioned above.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the question be called. (M. Rennie/A. Wensley) The motion was carried.

The motion was called to question. The motion was carried.

As part of his report, the Vice-President and Principal noted that there was a college-wide faculty strike affecting approximately 800 UTM students, who were in the CCIT, Art & Art History and the Theatre and Drama programs. He reported that the Office of the Registrar has been in contact with these students and that a link was available on the UTM home page that answers some frequently asked questions regarding the strike. UTM’s priority will be to minimize impact on its academic programs and to ensure that students will be able to compete their academic year. He added that depending on the length of the strike, different provisions have been implemented within the University’s governance system to be able to alter the grading scheme should there be an excessive loss of exams and class time. He noted that there were no final exams in any of the effected courses.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

A member asked the Vice-President and Principal to explain the rationale behind the strike by College faculty. The Chair noted that the Vice-President and Principal was not in a position to explain why college faculty were taking such action. The member added that it would be important to understand the cause of the strike because it affected UTM students. The Vice-President and Principal stated that the matter was part of a labour negotiation and that he did not have specific information on the various positions. In response to a member’s query, Professor Orchard noted that none of the striking faculty were members of the UTM faculty. A member noted again that the UTM homepage has a link with this information, which refers people to the Sheridan College web site.

In response to a member’s query about changes to the grading scheme as a result of the strike, the Vice-President and Principal referred members to the University of Toronto’s grading practices policy. He explained that grading schemes are announced at the beginning of each course and cannot be changed without the full consultation and approval of students. When an extraordinary disruption such as a strike occurs, the grading policy allows for the grading scheme to be altered and provides the flexibility to adjust courses for lost classes, tests and assignments.

A member asked whether transportation would be provided for students if the strike extends into the summer. The Vice-President and Principal replied that the preference of those involved would be for the term not to be extended and that if additional classes are required, that they be offered during the exam period. He added that although a negotiated settlement is hoped for, transportation arrangements would be made to ensure that students could access their classes.

A member commented that many students support striking faculty and since UTM students are affected by the strike asked what the Vice-President and Principal’s position was on the matter. Professor Orchard noted that the university does not take a position on the negotiations of college faculty. Another member commented that students in general and especially those third and fourth year students who are impacted do not support the strike. The Vice-President and Principal ensured members that the goal of the university in this matter was to ensure that the academic year could be completed.

Finally, the Vice-President and Principal reported that the creation of the Academy of Medicine, which was approved at a special meeting of Council, was announced at a press conference at UTM, where the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities also announced the resulting additional funding to increase medical training in Ontario. In partnership with the two community hospitals, the Faculty of Medicine, and UTM a steering committee is responsible for specific planning issues related to the academy.

3. Other Business

a) The Chair announced the results of the January by-elections of ECC. He noted that there were three nominations for the 1 vacant administrative staff position on council and an election was conducted with the following results:

Mr. Neil Neebar 30
Ms. Louise Oliver 74 Elected
Martha Price 34 Valid Votes Cast: 138
Invalid/Spoiled Ballots: 1
Constituency Size: 380

He welcomed Ms. Louise Oliver to the work of the Council.

b) Member’s Motion Regarding Tuition Fee Freeze:

The Chair noted that the matter of a tuition fee freeze discussion goes back to a decision of the Executive Committee not to admit a motion, over which Council had no authority. Subsequent to that decision, another motion was submitted by two student members of Council, which was deemed to be in order and which has been placed on the agenda of the current meeting.

A member stated that a similar motion to the original motion was passed at the Council On Student Services (COSS) and at the Quality of Service to Students (QSS) group. He stated that it should have been allowed as a motion that was in order and asked if members could look at that original motion.

The Chair reminded the member that there was a motion on the agenda, which was approved as being in order and the proper business of Council. Another member stated that the Executive Committee had already discussed the original motion and the reasons for it being out of order several times, and communicated this to members of Council. He suggested that Council move on to discuss the motion currently on the agenda.

It was duly moved and seconded,

Whereas tuition fees are a form of barrier to post secondary education; and
Whereas the university is committed to providing an accessible, quality education, and removing barriers to accessing and completing higher education; and
Whereas, according to the Students' Administrative Council, 99% of students that participated in a plebiscite are in favor of a tuition fee reduction or freeze; therefore
That, Erindale College Council recommends to the Vice-President and Principal, UTM, that he/she advocate through the governing council of University of Toronto that tuition fees should either be frozen or reduced; and
That, Erindale College Council recommends to the Vice-President and Principal, UTM, that he/she includes updates on tuition fees at UTM as changes occur, in the Vice-President and Principal’s (UTM) Report; and
That, Erindale College Council recommends to the Vice-President and Principal, UTM, that he/she includes updates in the Vice-President and Principal’s (UTM) Report on advocacy progress as outlined in the first clause of this motion after each governing council meeting were matters relating to tuition fees were mentioned. (V. Glebov/S. Abrahim)

The Chair opened the floor to discussion.

A member stated his belief that it was not contrary to university policy to advocate for a fully funded tuition fee freeze, in which the government allocates sufficient funding to accomplish this. He noted that it would be within the guidelines of ECC to advocate for a fully funded tuition fee freeze and to receive feedback on university policy as it relates to this issue.

By unanimous consent, Council moved to receive the reports of the standing committees, to give time to certain members to fully articulate and submit in writing an amendment to the above motion.

4. Reports of Standing Committees

a) Resource Planning and Priorities Committee – Prof. Robert Reisz

On behalf of the Resource Planning and Priorities Committee, Professor Reisz reported that at its last meeting on February 27, 2006 the committee received four reports, all for information. Members heard about much needed infrastructure updates to the campus, including the replacement and upgrade of the electrical supply, sanitary sewer diversion and the implementation of the storm water management pond. The committee also discussed the executive summary of the parking strategy report by Lea Consulting and received a presentation from the Office of Advancement on the fundraising progress for capital projects. He highlighted one aspect of her report in which it was announced that the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre was fully funded in terms of its fundraising goal of $6M. Members also received a report on behalf of the Grounds Monitoring Subcommittee, on the activities of the UTM/Evergreen Naturalization Steering Committee for 2006. There is a proposal to develop and implement a plan to actively manage and re-naturalize the previously unmanaged part of the old field habitat, behind the Argos field.

The Chair opened the floor to questions on the report.

In response to a member’s question, the Professor Reisz explained that the location of the old field is between the Argos field and the edge of the property and added that all of the sub-committees involved have student representation.

b) Computing Committee – Mr. Joe Lim

Mr. Lim reported that the committee met on March 1, 2006 with reports for information on the following items: an update on the Learning Management System and the Blackboard Transaction System and a detailed presentation on the requirements of the Freedom of Information, Privacy Protection Act, which will now apply to universities. Details on this presentation can be obtained in the minutes of the Computing Committee meeting available on the Council web site.

3. Other Business Continued:

Following reception of the reports of the standing committees, the Chair asked if the member was ready to move his amendment.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the above motion be amended by inserting the following whereas clause and be it resolved clause:
Whereas, tuition fees help fund academic programs and are therefore part of academic policy;
Be It Resolved, THAT, ECC recommend to Governing Council to support a fully funded freeze on tuition fees until at least the end of the 2008-09 academic year.

The Chair opened the amendment to discussion.

A member spoke in favour of the amendment, noting that Erindale College Council should recommend to Governing Council a fully funded freeze on tuition given that sufficient funding is obtained from the provincial government.

Another member spoke in favour of the amendment on supporting a fully funded tuition fee freeze, but noted his concern that this clause seemed to be contrary to the original motion’s other clause on reducing tuition.

Another member noted that the motion would represent a two track advocacy: one through the Vice-President and Principal and another through Erindale College Council. He also urged faculty and staff to abstain from voting on the amendment. The Chair remarked that it would be improper to urge members to abstain from exercising their vote and that given the member’s support for the amendment; he should urge all members to vote in its support. The member urged all members of Council to vote in support of the amendment to show Governing Council that Erindale College Council was in fact supportive of a fully funded tuition fee freeze and that it was an important issue for all constituencies.

A member asked for clarification of the amendment. A member noted that the amendment’s purpose was to show support for advocating for a fully funded tuition free freeze over which Governing Council has control.

The Vice-President and Principal noted that the current amendment contradicts the existing resolution that directs him to recommend to Governing Council that tuition fees should be frozen or reduced. He also noted that the term ‘fully funded’ was not defined.

The motion was put. The motion was lost.

The Chair announced that the motion would remain unchanged and opened discussion on it.

A member spoke in favour of the motion citing a plebiscite conducted in November of 2005, which showed that 99 percent of the students who cast a ballot thought tuition should stay frozen or be reduced. The motion requests the Vice-President and Principal to advocate a tuition fee freeze or reduction at Governing Council on behalf of all students and that he update Council members on any changes to tuition fees. He added that the motion promotes advocacy and that any increases to tuition would represent a barrier to a university education. He urged members to vote in favour of the motion and send a clear signal to Governing Council that student concerns regarding tuition are recognized. He also urged the Vice-President and Principal to continue his advocacy at Governing Council and the provincial government to secure more funding for universities.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT in the first be it resolved clause, everything after the word “advocate” be struck out and replaced by the following clause: “to the Governing Council of the University that the Province of Ontario provide sufficient public funding in the form of operating grants to universities, such that tuition need not be increased.” (S. Wahid/ U. Krull)

The member noted that this amendment seeks to do what the previous amendment wished to do, which is to have a properly defined and fully funded tuition freeze and advocate for more funding from the province while attempting to maintain tuition fees at their current level.

The Vice-President and Principal spoke in favour of the amendment as it provides a somewhat fuller definition of a fully funded tuition with respect to operating grants. Another member commented that the amendment is general and that it does not preclude the promotion of deregulating fees.

The question was put. The motion was carried. The Chair opened the floor to debate on the motion as amended.

A member noted that the university is comprised of many stakeholders who all wish to see that quality education is provided to students. He remarked that in advocating for tuition freezes, students do not wish to decrease the quality of education, but are rather asking the university to jointly advocate with students for a fully funded tuition. The motion calls for the Vice-President and Principal and the Council to direct their efforts to advocating the Provincial government to reach this goal.

Another member spoke against the motion. He cited the Rae Review, which did not advocate a tuition freeze, and noted that setting tuition should remain in the control of the university.

A member stated that the amendment has made the motion much more acceptable and that he would vote in its favour. He also remarked that too much time had been taken up at Council to lobby for this issue over the course of three meetings. Another member noted that the motion does not necessary preclude the university from setting tuition levels. It does however provide for advocacy work on behalf of students so that fees need not be increased.

Another member spoke in favour of the motion as amended and encouraged all members to support it, noting that a fully funded tuition fee would provide for a good quality education, which would in turn benefit society as a whole. He further stated that if the Province of Ontario funded universities appropriately, tuition would not need to be raised. An international student spoke to the exorbitant cost of education for international students and also urged members to vote in favour of the motion.

A member spoke against the motion, noting that those that benefit from education need to share the burden of the cost of that education. He stated that the segment of society that has a university education is also the same segment that will receive the benefit of being the wealthiest part of the populace and that the rest of society would be unfairly taxed for that privilege if tuition fees were frozen. He added that there are two stakeholders who should share the cost of education: society, which gains general rewards from those who are educated, and students, who gain the rewards of being educated. He expressed his concern about a tuition fee freeze, which may result in a lower quality education and noted that there should be a differential cost to various degrees to reflect private versus public benefits.

The Vice-President and Principal stated that although the amendment significantly improved the motion, he still had concerns about the motion’s other clauses. He noted that the motion is lacking mention of the importance that financial aid plays in accessibility. In addition, the motion does not properly define what constitutes fully funded tuition. He pointed out that in the existing tuition fee freeze, the government did not fully finance the resulting funding gap. In particular, they did not fund the 30% of tuition that goes into financial aid, which would mean that supporting a tuition fee freeze would be supporting a freeze in financial aid. He further stated that contrary to comments made by previous speakers, accessibility at the University of Toronto has increased over the past several years from individuals of low income backgrounds due to the financial aid program. He finally stated that he could not support the motion because it did not incorporate financial aid and accessibility as critical components of tuition.

A member spoke in favour of the motion, noting that an increase in tuition fees would increase the barrier to education. He further stated that financial aid only helps those students with the lowest income, and that rising tuition costs therefore adversely affect the middle class. He remarked that the fairest way to fund the education system was through taxation. The member stated that education was a right and that access to education should be improved so that as many people as possible receive the benefits of a university education. He also spoke against the university’s ability to set tuition fees, noting that the process undermines taxpayers’ dollars. He concluded by stating that a rise in tuition increases the gap between the rich and the poor.

The question was put. The motion was lost.

The Chair announced that it was time to adjourn and that a motion would be needed to extend the meeting if members wished to continue discussion.

It was duly moved and seconded,

THAT the meeting be extended by five minutes. The motion was lost.

The Chair announced that the next meeting of Council was scheduled for Wednesday, April 12, 2006. The meeting was adjourned at 5:25 p.m.

Secretary __________________________________________ Chair __________________________________

April 3, 2006