Erindale College Council

Report of the College Affairs Committee meeting held on Monday, March 22, 2004, at 3:10 p.m. in the Ante Chamber, Room 3129, South Building, University of Toronto at Mississauga.

UNVERSITY OF TORONTO AT MISSISSAUGA
Erindale College Council

COLLEGE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

PRESENT: J. Linley (in the Chair), R. Beck, M.A. Mavrinac, M. Overton, B. Barton, A. Lange, J. Malcolm, D. Leeies, A. Birkenbergs, S. McCarthy, S. Bancheri, C. Capewell, S. O’Connell, K. Kaun, B. Murck
REGRETS: C. Misak, U. Krull, S. Al-Abdul-Wahid, L. Collins, C. McGrath, N. Collins, A. Vyas, J. Stevenson, P. Donoghue

1. Adoption of the Agenda

The Agenda was adopted. (D. Leeies / S. McCarthy)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting (February 23, 2004)

The report of the previous meeting was approved. (A. Lange / M. Overton)

3. Business Arising from the Minutes:

a) Report of the Working Group on the College Affairs Committee’s terms of reference – J. Linley

Mr. Linley reported that the working group took into consideration the feedback and ensuing discussion from the last meeting of the CAC before generating its proposal. He summarized the group’s recommendation. It is proposed that the CAC be dissolved and be replaced by a web based platform, consisting of a comprehensive list of commonly asked questions and answers dealing with issues such as quality of student life, food services, grounds monitoring, and any other issue of concern previously addressed through meetings of CAC. The proposed website would direct users to the appropriate operational department or governance committee. An email address would also be established, monitored by the Secretary of Council for those users who would like to bring issues to the attention of governance bodies and for those issues that are not operational in nature or need further clarification. The Secretary of Council would submit these issues to the Executive Committee for consideration as possible items of business at Erindale College Council or other standing committees. Mr. Linley called on another member of the working group to add comments regarding the proposal.

The member noted that the working group followed the instruction of members of the CAC, who directed the group to make more efficient use of members’ time, with respect to the issues under the terms of reference of the CAC. He explained that by making the issues transparent on the web, a larger part of the UTM community could be informed with increased efficiency and without the duplication of issues that currently occurs between it and other standing committees. Another member of the working group added that the group examined the possible concern of eliminating a committee that was similar to that of the University Affairs Board (UAB), but found that the UAB was responsible for issues which were under the purview of UTM’s QSS group, and not the CAC.

A member commented that in the past, the CAC may have been a necessary buffer for the discussion of contentious issues before they were presented to Erindale College Council (ECC), and added that in his opinion this was no longer needed. The member added that technology has provided opportunities for communication which were not available in the past, when the CAC was first established.

In response to a member’s question about how issues could be relayed to Erindale College Council, the Chair replied that the Executive Committee would discuss and take issues to Council as appropriate.

The Chair of Council suggested that the website also provide the contact information for chairs of standing and sub-committees, for those members who wish to address issues through governance in addition to contact with administrative or operational bodies. He emphasized that it would be the responsibility of chairs of standing and/or sub-committees to be available for receiving such issues and brining them to the attention of their respective standing committees. Several members of the working group agreed, adding that the website would act as a ‘virtual ombudsperson.’

The Chair thanked the following members for participating in the working group: Adil Mirza, John Malcolm, Karla Kaun, Barbara Murck, and Robert Baker.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the College Affairs Committee recommend to the Executive Committee of Erindale College Council the following:

i. THAT the Working Group of the College Affairs Committee (CAC), with input from members of CAC, develop the content of a web page linked to the web page of Erindale College Council. THAT this web page feature a comprehensive list of items of concern covered by CAC, (similar to a frequently asked question list) and provide a list of answers and where applicable, links to web pages and information for appropriate contacts.

ii. THAT for those items not addressed in the web page, an email address be provided for members of the community to raise their concerns and questions, and that said email be managed by the Secretary of Council, directing emails to the appropriate area, whether it be an operational department or the Executive Committee of Council as deemed appropriate by the Secretary.

iii. THAT upon the completion of the web page, the College Affairs Committee be dissolved and THAT the two subcommittees of the College Affairs Committee (1. Transportation and Parking; 2. Grounds Monitoring) be reassigned to the Resource Planning and Priorities Committee.
(J. Linley / A. Birkenbergs)

A member suggested amending the motion to make it more explicit as to the purpose of the website. Another member replied that the first item of the motion laid out the purpose of the website explicitly in its current form. A member suggested enhancing the motion by incorporating text, which would indicate that the website is meant as a tool for problem solving.
The Chair explained that the working group would oversee the development of the website and would present it to the CAC at a final meeting before the dissolution of said Committee.

The following was accepted as a friendly amendment: in the second sentence of clause number (i) insert “be a problem solving vehicle” following “this web page.” The friendly amendment was read into the motion.

A member suggested making the proposed website a web forum, which would be interactive and would show discussions as they were taking place. Several members expressed their concern about establishing such a ‘chat room’, adding that many people would feel uncomfortable with a public forum and would want their questions and comments to remain private. A member stated that a web forum could possibly be another vehicle for posturing and that openness of communication would be better achieved by steering concerns submitted through the email to members of the Executive Committee and chairs of standing and/or sub-committees. Another member added that such web based forums were often ineffectual because of the large amount of information users have to sift through to locate their desired topic. A member suggested that the FAQ website be updated frequently to reflect suggestions and new information. Other members agreed and added that this work would be part of the development of the website itself.

The member asked what recourse members had if their concerns were not addressed through the FAQ website. The Chair reiterated that such concerns could be submitted via the proposed email.

A member commended the working group for their efforts and for arriving at such an innovative proposal.

The motion was called to question. The motion was passed.

4. Other Business

There was no other business.

5. Next Meeting

The Chair noted that this was the last scheduled meeting of the College Affairs Committee for the academic year, but added that another meeting may be called in the near future based on Council’s decision on the matter of the Committees dissolution.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
Secretary of Council _______________________ Chair ___________________
April 10, 2004.