The Presidential Task Force on Student Life, Learning & Community, chaired by York Vice-President Academic & Provost Patrick Monahan, has issued this message to the York community:
We are writing to provide you with an update on our progress over the past few months. The task force has been mandated by York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri to address the broad spectrum of student life, the learning environment and student community at York University, with special attention to the relationships between and among students, as well as between students and other parts of the community.
The 14 members of the task force have been hard at work since our formation in March, meeting as a group a total of 13 times. Members of the task force have also met with a variety of student groups and representatives, including the three student unions – York Federation of Students, Graduate Student’s Association, Glendon College Student Union – as well as Hillel, Muslim Students Association, Students Against Israeli Apartheid and the York University Black Students Alliance. The task force held a town hall meeting on the Keele campus and at the Glendon campus in mid-May, and have invited written submissions from all members of the community through the Task Force on Student Life, Learning & Community Web site.
We have received approximately 50 written submissions from individuals and organizations thus far. While the deadline for written submissions was June 15, if there are others who would like to provide us with their views in writing we invite them to do so by no later than July 13.
In addition to receiving submissions, we have been gathering information on policies and practices at York relevant to our mandate, and have heard from representatives from Ryerson University, the University of Toronto and Concordia University as to the manner in which they have dealt with similar issues.
Proceeding by consensus, we are working towards developing a series of constructive, concrete recommendations that we believe will improve the atmosphere and environment on campus for all students, as well as members of the community more generally. Among others, we are discussing issues around civil debate, student space, mechanisms for conflict resolution and internal University communication. We believe that we are making good progress, and anticipate that we will meet the deadline of Aug. 31 that has been set for us by President Shoukri.
We thank all those who have taken the time to make submissions to the task force, either in writing or orally, and welcome other submissions prior to July 13.