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New housing policy proposed: Updated policy will better reflect U of T's current housing situation

by Jenny Hall

A new policy on student housing, recommended for approval by University Affairs Board at its April 25 meeting, will continue to guarantee housing to first-year students but will better reflect the university’s current housing situation, which has changed significantly since the construction of several new residences in recent years.

If approved by Governing Council, the new policy will replace an earlier 1989 document. It is derived from the recommendations of the Task Force on Student Housing, which reported to the University Affairs Board in March 2004.

“A lot of what the old policy was about was a need to develop more student housing,” said Carol Robb, assistant vice-provost and secretary of the task force. “It was nuts and bolts document.”

Now that the goal of more capacity has largely been attained, it was time to update the policy, said Robb. What has emerged from two years of consultation and deliberation is a policy that sets out core principles tied to the university’s aims and an associated document offering implementation guidelines.

The five principles articulated in the policy itself are:

• that student housing be a tool for the university in its mission to attract and retain highly qualified students

• that student housing provide residents with educationally purposeful communities

• that the university must maintain minimum standards for the student residence experience and respond consistently when serious issues arise

• that the responsibility for student housing lie with the vice-president and provost in co-operation with the heads of the federated institutions.

Robb pointed to the formation of a standing committee on student housing as a major accomplishment of the policy. “The committee has broad representation from all three campuses and the federated universities and will work together to monitor practices and policy issues and to develop common standards,” she said. “The committee is now part of the governance process and will see that things get done in a co-ordinated way.”

The proposed implementation guidelines associated with the new policy retain many of the components of the 1989 policy, including a guarantee of housing for first-year students who are offered admission by July 1 and for students with disabilities.

The policy is available at The policy is available at www.utoronto.ca/govcncl/bac/details/ua/2005-06/uaa20060425.pdf (follow the links on agenda item 5).




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