Complaint Process - Student Societies
Complaint Submission – Student Societies
If you would like to bring forward a complaint against an academic society, please follow the steps below. As always, the Student Engagement Coordinator, Student Groups & Interfaith, is available to provide guidance and support.
UTM is a diverse campus with student groups representing members with different interests and beliefs. The information below is to support our students to assist with disputes and resolutions among student groups, academic societies, and student societies. University of Toronto student groups are autonomous organizations and operate independently from the University. However, all student groups, academic societies, and student societies are required to uphold their local constitutions and by-laws, and the university policies and guidelines.
- Step 1 - Society Internal Process
- Step 2 - Submit a Formal Complaint
- Step 3 - Complaint Referred to Complaint & Resolution Council for Student Societies (CRCSS)
The first step is to bring up the concern or issue directly with the society as outlined in their society constitution. Societies should have an internal process to review and attend to complaints. If you feel safe and comfortable to do so, reach out to the society president or executive member (or, the representative who oversees the complaint process within the respective society).
This process may take several weeks, depending on the dates when executive members are able to meet and discuss the complaints.
If the issue has not been resolved, submit a formal complaint to the Assistant Dean of Student and International Initiatives.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Your name
- Your email
- Name of student society
- Name(s) of student leaders involved (if known)
- You relation to the society
- Nature of the complaint (event, social media/advertisement, democratic process, operation of the club, financial, etc.)
- Description of the issue
- Actions you have taken to resolve the issue
- Desired outcome (what are some ideal solutions to the problem?)
- Attach any screenshots, or additional documents that may assist us
Once submitted, the Assistant Dean of Student and International Initiatives will investigate the matter. Throughout the process, the Assistant Dean may request a meeting with the complainant to collect more information. As well, the Coordinator may request a meeting with the student society during the investigation process.
The purpose for gathering this particular information is to facilitate and guide our ability to respond to, investigate and follow up on the complaint. It will also help us to properly support and provide accurate and appropriate referrals and follow-ups.
Please note: the purpose of the meetings is to provide recommendations to the group and to the complainant(s). Student societies are autonomous and self-governed organizations. As such, student societies are encouraged to follow internal conflict mediation processes, consistent with their constitution and guidelines.
If a society is not complying with a university policy, the university may withhold certain services and recognition. In instances where the safety of a student is compromised, the Assistant Dean, Student Services may refer the issues to the following departments:
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Office – If the complaint is based around an equity and/or around discriminatory behavior
Sexual Violence & Prevention Support Centre – If the complaint is based around sexual violence and/or sexual harassment
Office of the Vice President Students – In cases where the event can have far-reaching impact on the University of Toronto, including staff and/or students, the Office of the Vice President Students may be contacted for further guidance and instruction on best practices.
Campus Safety – If the issue relates to an urgent student safety concern, Campus Safety and/or local authorities may be contacted for further support.
The Assistant Dean of Student and International Initiatives will provide recommendations and decisions to the society and to the complainant.
While we strive to move quickly to resolve the complaint, we know there are many elements involved in conducting an investigation. The process should be complete within two weeks, but the complainant will be notified if additional time for investigations is required.
If the society's own internal process has been followed, and a resolution has not been met after step 2, a complaint can be sent to the Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies (CRCSS).
Please note: A complaint should not be sent to CRCSS until steps 1 and 2 are complete; or, if the Assistant Dean of Student and International Initiatives, refers the issue to the CRCSS.
As per the Policy on Open, Accessible, Democratic Autonomous Student Organizations, “the CRCSS Panel has the power, in its discretion, to determine that no further action is required; to pursue informal resolution among the parties; to issue a reprimand where it determines that a Student Society has not operated in an open, accessible and democratic fashion or followed its constitution; to recommend to a society that changes to its by-laws, constitution, or operational processes be made; to recommend that actions be taken by the Student Society to enhance openness, accessibility and democratic operation; and/or to recommend to the Vice-President and Provost that fees be withheld pursuant to the Policy for Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees. The authority to withhold fees remains the Vice-President and Provost’s.”
The decisions made by the CRCSS are shared with the Vice-President and Provost, and the appropriate University office(s) for follow-up, if required.
To submit a complaint directly to the Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies, please review the dedicated CRCSS page for details and directions.
All University of Toronto students are encouraged to review the guiding policies and procedures for student groups, specifically the following: