Statement: Mandated Leave Policy
RE: University Mandated Leave of Absence Policy
The University of Toronto Students’ Union joins other student groups and leaders, from across the university, to express our concerns with the revised University Mandated Leave of Absence Policy.
The University Mandated Leave of Absence Policy allows the administration to place a student on academic suspension if they pose a serious risk of harm to themselves or others, or if they are unable to engage in the essential activities required to pursue an education.
Removing these students from our campus is not new to the university. This currently occurs under the Student Code of Conduct, which does not recognize mental health and often leaves these students without the resources they need. Though an expansive policy is an improvement to our current procedure, the University of Toronto Students’ Union cannot support the Policy in its current state.
We will not support the removal of students in most dire need without guaranteeing them the provision of ongoing resources. We ask that student autonomy is respected in all aspects of the decision making process under the Policy. We acknowledge that students navigate mental illness in vastly different ways, not always confiding in doctors, but in social workers, religious leaders, community members, family, friends, and more. For this reason, we want the policy to guarantee the student’s right to not only represent themselves, but to choose others to act on their behalf and alongside them. This understanding must be codified and protected, and this policy must guarantee personalized access to essential services, such as work-study programs, residence, immigration advising, academic and career advising, Health and Wellness, and more. These services are often essential for students to recover and become well, and continued access must be at the discretion of the student.
Furthermore, we call upon the University to re-open the consultation period and actively engage in meaningful, in-person conversations with students from diverse groups on campus. We ask for a constructive and collaborative approach.
Yours in Service,
The UTSU Executive