How U of T government works
Who makes University-wide decisions?
In general, decisions with University-wide implications are reviewed and decided by Governing Council, a body of faculty, professors, administrators, government appointees, alumni, and a few students. Get to know who sits on the Council. Each Council member may raise an issue, debate an issue, or outright do as they please.
Student representatives are elected by the students to serve the students, so don’t beat around the bush with these guys. Hold them accountable.
Feeling intrepid and up to the job? Governing Council elections take place annually around February. In the New Year, check your UTmail+ for information on how to run.
To keep on top of what’s happening, you can attend monthly meetings of Governing Council in Simcoe Hall or just check outwww.governingcouncil.com for all the juicy governance stories. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll make school cheaper for you.
What’s the highest level of student representation?
The highest forms of student representation are student unions. The University of Toronto officially recognizes five student unions, each with a different—and sometimes overlapping—membership.
Who are they?
-Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students
-Graduate Students’ Union
-Scarborough Campus Students’ Union
-University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union
-University of Toronto Students’ Union
Although student unions can’t wilfully change U of T policy, they are armed to the teeth with resources to lobby on behalf of the student body. Student union elections are the most contested and watched elections at the University. If you feel you are up to the job, elections take place in the second-term.
In the lead up to running in an election, get to know your union! The easiest way to do this is to simply volunteer!
What is a faculty society?
Each faculty has it’s own set of faculty-level student representation. Here’s a list of the current student faculty representative bodies.
-Faculty of Arts and Science — Arts and Science Students’ Union
-Faculty of Medicine — Medical Society
-Faculty of Skule™ — Engineering Society
-Faculty of Kinesiology — Physical Education Undergraduate Association
-Faculty of the Transitional Year Program — Transitional Year Program Students’ Association
-Faculty of Music — Faculty of Music Undergraduate Association
-Faculty of Architecture — Bachelor of Arts Architectural Studies Society
-Faculty of Nursing — Nursing Undergraduate Society
-Faculty of Dentistry — Dental Student Society
-Faculty of Pharmacy — Undergraduate Pharmacy Society
All faculty societies provide students with academic services such as past exams and professional development opportunities. They also host social events. A few advocate for students and have seats on faculty committees. If you have an issue with your faculty, these groups are a resource to tap into.
Get plugged into your faculty society! There are tons of opportunities available for those willing to make a difference.
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