University of Toronto

Office of the Governing Council
27 King’s College Circle, Room 106
Simcoe Hall

Toronto ON, M5S 1A1

June 25, 2018

RE: Governing Council Vote on Mandated Leave Policy

Dear Members of Governing Council,

On behalf of 350,000 post-secondary students across Ontario, I urge you to vote against the
proposed Mandated Leave Policy being brought forward to the University of Toronto’s
Governing Council this Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

Students have long advocated for improvements to mental health services and policies that
promote a culture of care. At a time when students across the country are suffering from a
mental health crisis, it is crucial for institutions to be mindful of the implications of their policies
on students’ mental health and practice careful due diligence.

The policy as presented will disproportionately impact international students who are here on
study permits and cannot afford to have their degrees extended without risking their ability to
complete their studies in Canada. Students are also concerned about how the Mandated Leave
Policy may impact students’ access to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) and
whether or not any time on leave would count towards the six months grace period afforded to
students before needing to repay their loans.

Though the leadership of this policy has claimed that it is for extreme cases, it is not unique for
these types of policies to be used against the most marginalized students on campus. Students
are concerned that the University of Toronto is more interested in developing a worst-casescenario
policy rather than increase funding and resources for the support services offered on
campus. Rather than anticipate the failures of support services and campus accommodations,
the University should strive to ensure that better supports are available to students.

The message communicated within this policy is that the University of Toronto is no place for
students struggling with mental health issues. This policy effectively removes the most
vulnerable students from whatever supports they may have found for themselves on campus
and puts the onus of healing and wellness on the individual student rather than the larger
campus community.

If the University of Toronto is committed to creating consent culture on campus, this
commitment must expand to policies created by the institution. Moving forward with a policy
where students from all three campuses have spoken in opposition is not consensual. Students
are experts in their own experiences and know the supports they need to succeed in postsecondary
education. The University of Toronto has an opportunity to be a world-class leader in
student mental health.

The most successful policies are those that center the voices of those who will be impacted. I
encourage you to reconsider this policy and take this opportunity to join your campus
community in finding sustainable solutions to students’ mental health crises.

In Student Solidarity,

Nour Alideeb


Ms N. Jane Pepino, Vice-Chair
The Honourable Michael H. Wilson, Chancellor
Professor Meric S. Gertler, President
Mr. Preet Banerjee
Mr. Harvey T. Botting
Mr. David N. Bowden
Dr. Catherine Bragg
Mr. P.C. Choo
Mr. Jeff P. Collins
Ms Janet L. Ecker
Mr. Aidan H. Fishman
Ms Susan Froom
Mr. Gary D. Goldberg
Dr. Avrum I. Gotlieb
Ms Amanda Harvey-Sanchez
Ms Zabeen Hirji
Ms Mala Kashyap
Professor Bruce Kidd
Professor Paul Kingston
Mr. R. Mark Krembil
Mr. Nykolaj F. Kuryluk
Professor Normand Labrie
Professor Ernest W.N. Lam
Professor Mark Lautens
Mr. Brian D. Lawson
Professor Jan K. Mahrt-Smith
Professor Mohan Matthen
Mr. John Paul Morgan
Ms Mama Adobea Nii Owoo
Professor Cheryl Regehr
Ms Catherine Riddell
Mr. Mark Henry Rowswell
Professor Andrea M. Sass-Kortsak
Professor Salvatore M. Spadafora
Professor Janice Gross Stein
Mr. Andrew Szende
Professor Nicholas Terpstra
Mr. W. Keith Thomas
Professor Steven J. Thorpe
Mr. Twesh Upadhyaya
Mr. Bruce Winter
Mr. Robert Zhi Cheng Xu
Ms Samra Zafar
Ms Emeli (Li) Zhang
Ms Sheree Drummond