The process of creating UMLAP began in 2015, when the 2014-2015 Report of the University Ombudsperson expressed concern that student misconduct as a result of mental health fell under the jurisdiction of the Code of Student Conduct, and that a leave of absence policy be created.
Two years later, the first draft of the policy was brought before the University Affairs Board of the Governing Council in October 2017. Students instantly showed concern over the policy, noting a lack of meaningful student consultations, targeting of vulnerable students, and the policy’s broad scope. A University vote on the policy is delayed to January, 2018, as students continue to voice their concerns.
In January 2018, the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission sent a letter to the Governing Council of the University, expressing concerns on the University’s duty to accommodate and the potential stigmatization of mental illness. The University once again delayed the vote on the policy.
Five months later in May 2018, the University approved a revised version of the policy, despite protests and heavy criticism from various student groups across U of T’s three campuses.
In June 2018, the University was rocked by the suicide of a student. Three days later, the policy is approved and goes into effect immediately. While the University stressed the need for a policy that provides a non-punitive course of action, students continue to protest its vague wording, its effect on racialized students and potential impact on international students.
Less than a year later, the University is rocked by another student suicide in the same spot as June 2018. Students across the university begin to rally and demand more attention to the issue of mental health on campus , and the implementation of more supports for students who are struggling. A group of students publish “Nothing About Us Without Us”, which calls for changes at the university and the complete repeal of UMLAP.
In December 2019, the University released a report that includes a recommendation that UMLAP be reviewed. In March 2021, the first and only scheduled student consultations were held. At the insistence of student groups and leaders, a second round of student consultations were scheduled for Fall 2021.
This brings us to now. The University will be holding two student consultation town halls on September 23 and October 5. Find more information about those consultations here.