Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities updated to reflect changing needs

Image shows a group of students standing in front of the Life Sciences Building located on the Keele Campus

The Office of Student Community Relations (OSCR) has updated the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities to better support and serve York University community members learning, working, and living on and off campus.

An important document, the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities is updated every five years to adapt to changing community needs and to align with prevailing University policies and guidelines. Changes are made after extensive consultation with students, staff and faculty to help ensure that the code affirms values of equity and respect.

The code is a set of identified values that the York University community is expected to uphold in their daily interactions, behaviours and overall conduct. The code upholds a philosophy and practice that is intended to balance a set of principles: support, accountability and education. The code also educates the community about non-academic behavioural standards at York and promotes accountability, ensuring that the York community upholds the dignity of individuals and groups and the enjoyment of their rights.

The recent additions to the code include:

  • the use of gender-neutral pronouns for a broader scope of representation;
  • expanded definitions to improve clarity;
  • improvements to procedural fairness guidelines;
  • the addition of York’s postering guidelines;
  • the inclusion of language around conduct during off-campus experiential education opportunities and University-related issues/events; and
  • the disruption of academic evaluation (as per Senate Policy on Academic Honesty).

There were also updates surrounding complaints, including:

  • an extension to the definition of who can file a complaint;
  • the timeline to amend a complaint;
  • changes regarding safety concerns; and
  • an emphasis on informal resolution as the preferred approach when resolving complaints.

To see the changes to the code, visit the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities web page. York community members are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the code to better support themselves and each other.

Learn more about the Office of Student Community Relations on the OSCR website.

Kindness Campaign promotes community and support this fall

Campus-Walk-FEATURED banner

York University students, staff and faculty are invited to join the Division of Students in spreading kindness on campus and online through the Kindness Campaign this September.

With a focus on patience and non-judgemental support, this important campaign fosters an ongoing dialogue about the importance of kindness in our everyday lives as we get used to new health protocols this fall. Gentle reminders and tips around kindness taking time, holding space and giving support will inspire York community members to take the campaign to heart as we navigate changes to the ways we interact.

York Kindness Campaign banner

“It has been a long time since a lot of us have interacted in person on our campuses,” said Alfred Ene, manager of the Office of Student Community Relations (OSCR). “For most of our new students, staff and faculty, it is their first time. The Kindness Campaign is a helpful reminder to stay mindful of others in the community as we navigate new ways of being around each other and move forward together. Whether it is helping out a colleague or a stranger who needs support, waiting a few extra minutes for a service or even getting coffee for the person behind you in line, simple acts of kindness will let everyone on our campuses feel welcome and supported.”

To get involved and show your support, explore the Kindness Toolkit to download, use and share campaign assets, from social media avatars and Zoom backgrounds to website buttons and print postcards. Let’s help spread some kindness!

The Kindness Campaign also helps raise awareness about the supports and services offered by the Division of Students, including Athletics & Recreation; the Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education; OSCR; Student Counselling, Health & Well-being; and Student Accessibility Services.

To learn more about the Kindness Campaign, visit go.yorku.ca/kindness.

Office of the University Registrar launches new Student Advisory Committee

Featured image shows students walking

This fall, the Office of the University Registrar will be introducing the Student Advisory Committee.

The Student Advisory Committee will bring together students with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences to provide a thoughtful and dynamic perspective on matters that impact the student journey at York University.

A graphic showing three students and the words Office of the University Registrar
Join the Student Advisory committee
>go.yorku.ca/sac

Through collaboration and consultation, members of this new committee will work with the Office of the University Registrar to ensure that policies, projects and services provided are reflective of students’ diverse thoughts, ideas and perspectives. By working together, the committee will be a collaborative and positive force for high-quality student services.

Applications to serve on the Student Advisory Committee are now open. The deadline to apply to be a member of this committee is Sept. 28.

To learn more about the committee, including the Terms of Reference and meeting schedule, visit the Office of the University Registrar website at go.yorku.ca/sac.

York University’s 2021 Orientation kicks off this weekend. Here’s a look at what’s planned

With fall term classes beginning on Sept. 8, the official start of the new academic year at York University is almost underway – and that means there’s plenty for new and returning students to do, think about and remember.

Luckily, the Orientation 2021 website helps with all of that, providing a schedule of events and corresponding registration information, a college finder tool, a resource guide listing academic and financial supports and student services, information about the York Orientation Welcome Kit and much more.

Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of this year’s Orientation events will be held virtually.

Orientation 2021

This year’s Orientation Week runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 5 and includes a variety of events, workshops and icebreakers during which students will have a chance to meet other first-year students as well as upper-year students in their respective colleges and Faculties.

For more information about the various Orientation programs and how to register, students can visit the college and Faculty website links below. (Students can use the college finder tool to determine which Orientation to sign up for based on their academic program’s college affiliation.)

York University offers a wide variety of Orientation programming for new and incoming students

Orientation Day

One of the most highly anticipated events of the week is always York Orientation Day, a full day of activities on Sept. 3, where incoming students will be introduced to their professors, fellow students and University resources, and get a glimpse into what their first year at York will be like.

Academic Orientation will be hosted by the colleges and Faculties, with most sessions being held in the morning, followed by the 2021 York Orientation Day Welcome Ceremony, which will welcome the incoming undergraduate class with a special video premiering on the Orientation website homepage at 11:30 a.m. For more information about Academic Orientation, click here.

Black Excellence YU Welcome Event

Black Excellence YU (BEYU) provides Black students with the supports they need to transition to university and maximize their student experience on the path to graduation. The BEYU Welcome Event, taking place on Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will foster a sense of community among incoming students so they feel welcomed, seen and supported at York, while equipping new Black students with the knowledge of where to go for a range of academic and personal support. For more information, visit this link.

Indigenous Student Orientation

The Centre for Indigenous Student Services (CISS) welcomes incoming Indigenous Students to York. Meet the staff at CISS, learn about our services and meet other Indigenous students at York on Aug. 24 from noon to 1 p.m. via Zoom.

International Student Orientation

The International Student Virtual Orientation, taking place Aug. 23, 25 and 27, is a great way to start the first semester, prepare for university life and connect with other international students. York International and so many other supports, services and resources at York are all still available, no matter where in the world students are.

Alternatively, for those who are on campus, join for a fun afternoon of activities and food in person at the International Student Picnic taking place on Sept. 2, 6 and 10. This is a great way for first- and second-year students to learn more about the Keele Campus, connect with students from the same Faculty and make new friends. There will be a campus tour towards the end of the picnic.

For more information and to register, visit this link.

Mature and Transfer Student Orientation

In addition to the Mature Student Orientation taking place Aug. 26, all newly admitted mature and transfer students are encouraged to take part in the Mature Student First-Year Experience. The program consists of a series of online stand-alone workshops aimed at supporting mature and transfer students’ transition to York. Students may participate in as few or as many sessions as they would like via Moodle, an interactive learning platform used throughout York to deliver course content online. It is available 24-7 and lets students set their own pace for learning.

Residence Orientation

Residence Orientation will be multifaceted this year. Housing Services will host a video series outlining what it is like to live in residence, followed by individual building Orientation events that will take place during Orientation Week and the first week of school. Students should ask their Don about it when they move in.

YorkFest 2021

Each year the York Federation of Students aims to make YorkFest the largest back-to-school Orientation festival held on a Canadian University campus. Get ready for a week packed with good vibes and fun, Sept. 20 to 24. For more information, visit the YorkFest web page.

Virtual Town Hall for students provides updates on 2021-22 plans

York University Vice-Provost, Students Lucy Fromowitz and a panel of York University’s senior leaders hosted a virtual Town Hall for all students on April 14 to provide an update on University-wide plans for 2021-22.

Lucy Fromowitz
Lucy Fromowitz

The Town Hall was an opportunity for students to ask questions, in advance or live during the event, about the University’s evolving response to COVID-19 on topics such as: plans for online and in-person learning for the Summer 2021 and the upcoming academic year; updates and information for international and graduate students; and overall health and safety information.

President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton, and Provost & Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps joined the panel to answer student queries about the University’s plan for a safe return to campus sometime in the Fall (an exact return date has not yet been set) and addressed the overall COVID-19 health and safety procedures York is implementing ahead of the Summer 2021 and Fall/Winter 2021-22 sessions. Senior leadership applauded York Facilities Services for their hard work and continued dedication in ensuring the campus has and will remain safe for students, staff and Faculty.

University Registrar Darran Fernandez and Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Associate Vice-President Thomas Loebel addressed undergraduate and graduate student questions regarding in-person learning opportunities for the Summer 2021 session and how students can apply for various scholarships and bursaries to assist them with funding their studies.

Executive Director, York International, Vinitha Gengatharan, addressed many questions pertaining to international students on topics surrounding study permits, post-graduate work permits, and the COVID-19 quarantine plan for incoming international students.

The panel was moderated by Manager of Student Life, Office of Student Community & Leadership Development Jair Kallidumbil.

The full video of the town hall is now available and can be viewed at https://vp.students.yorku.ca/town-hall.

Virtual town hall provides update on 2021-22 University budget

Vari Hall Winter Scene
Vari Hall Winter Scene

President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton and York University’s senior leadership team hosted a consultation on the 2021-22 University budget at a virtual town hall held Feb. 8.

The town hall presented an overview of the University’s current financial framework and discussed the opportunities and challenges York faces in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and planning for the next academic year. Members of the community were invited to ask questions – in pre-submitted and live formats – on budget priorities and other concerns.

Joining Lenton were Provost & Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps, Vice-President Finance & Administration Carol McAulay, Vice-President Advancement Jeff O’Hagan, Vice-President Research & Innovation Amir Asif and Vice-Provost Students Lucy Fromowitz.

The full video of the town hall on the 2021-22 University budget is now available and can be viewed at: https://conversations.info.yorku.ca/past-town-hall-webcasts/.

York continues digital transformation with new electronic platform for student documents

Woman laptop computer FEATURED
Woman laptop computer FEATURED

York University has joined the Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC) national network as an early adopter for delivering student documents to them electronically through a secure, centralized source. The national network, ARUCC MyCreds™ | MesCertifMC, will enable students to access certain documents through a centralized source and share documents with other institutions globally.

The MyCreds™ platform will help support the University Academic Plan’s sustainable development goals, streamline administrative processes, improve turnaround time to students, help to eliminate credential fraud, enhance student experience with password-protected digital solutions and improve efficiencies with one single repository.

MyCreds™ | MesCertifMC, will enable students to access certain documents through a centralized source and share documents with other institutions globally

Along with other projects – including the Student Systems Renewal Program (SSRP), a new Curriculum Management System and the implementation of SAVY, York’s student virtual assistant – the University is transforming the digital experience for its community.

Staff in the Office of the University Registrar, Faculties and other student service units across both campuses will benefit from a streamlined process that increases speed and accuracy of processing documents and allows service staff to enhance service levels to meet student expectations. Since documents managed through MyCreds™ are certified authentic, the risk of document fraud will be reduced and trust in authenticity increased.

Darran Fernandez
Darran Fernandez

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of areas for us to modernize our services to meet student needs. Our partnership with ARUCC | MyCreds™ is a big step in that direction by empowering our learners – both past and present – to use and share their academic records when and how they want through a secure digital national network with global connections,” said York University Registrar Darran Fernandez. “Through this initiative, we are using digital technology to support our students and to help them achieve success – an important commitment that is central to our University Academic Plan.”

Beginning this month, York students will gain secure digital access to graduation confirmation and enrollment verification letters, which will be followed by digital access to diplomas in March and the ability to request and digitally share transcripts in May. Future planned development will include availability of badges and microcredentialing for students.

Call for nominations: Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award

Students watching a professor speaking

Do you know an outstanding undergraduate or graduate student who has made significant contributions to the York community? Why not nominate that student for a Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award?

The Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award recognizes students whose leadership has contributed to the growth, development and vitality of York University. Established in 2012, this award is named after Robert J. Tiffin, who served as York University’s vice-president, students for nine years during his tenure. Through his strong leadership, dedication and integrity, Tiffin transformed his operation into one of the most professional student service organizations in the country, serving one of Canada’s largest student populations.

“The focus is on trying to identify and recognize those students who have taken leadership roles in the community,” Tiffin said. “The skills that students develop in the classroom … are enhanced through their participation outside of the classroom, by contributing to the community. A lot of the competencies that we look for, like leadership, are really honed by becoming involved and becoming engaged in providing support for fellow students.”

All members of the University community (students, faculty, staff and alumni) are encouraged to submit nominations for this award. Nominees must be currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students who exhibit leadership, dedication, integrity, enthusiasm and the pursuit of excellence through their endeavours. Selection will be based on leadership and/or involvement in the York community and outstanding academic achievement. Recipients will be honoured at a virtual award reception and have their name added to the awards display in the Vari Hall Rotunda. They will also receive a certificate and have the award noted on their transcript.

Nomination packages must include:

  • a letter of recommendation from a primary nominator (maximum of 500 words);
  • a statement of support from a secondary nominator representing one nominating constituency (York University students, staff, faculty or alumni) not represented by the primary nominator (maximum of 350 words);
  • a candidate statement that describes how co-curricular involvement at York University has affected their university experience and helped to enhance the quality of life on campus (maximum of 500 words; include the student number at the top of the page); and
  • a current resume/CV, including detailed descriptions of involvement at the University.

The nomination package deadline is Friday, March 5. Submissions must be completed online by clicking here.

For any questions related to the Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award, email the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students at vpstudents@yorku.ca or visit the website for more information about the award here.

Town Hall offers update on academics, work life and York’s positive contributions through COVID-19

Vari Hall new image
Vari Hall new image

During a Virtual Town hall event held on Oct. 21, York’s senior leadership team shared details on the University’s direction as it continues to evolve to meet pandemic safety guidelines.

The event offered York community members an opportunity to ask questions – in pre-submitted and live formats – and learn more about the University’s plans and initiatives. In attendance were President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton, Provost & Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps, Vice-President Finance & Administration Carol McAulay, Vice-President Advancement Jeff O’Hagan, Vice-President Research & Innovation Amir Asif, and University Registrar Darran Fernandez.

Rhonda L. Lenton
Rhonda L. Lenton

Lenton opened with a land acknowledgement, and a reminder that some of the University’s facilities – indoor gyms and indoor seated spaces for dining – have been temporarily shuttered to meet updated COVID-19 public health measures announced by the province two weeks ago.

Looking forward to winter term, Lenton said the University will continue to operate with the same plan as fall with the majority of courses offered remotely. Senior leadership, she said, is now in the beginning stages of planning for the 2021-2022 academic year.

“We expect that for fall of 2021 we will be able to move largely back to in-person instruction; however, it’s a volatile situation and there is still some level of uncertainty,” she said, adding that the decision rests largely on guidance from Toronto Public Health as well as the development of, and access to, a vaccine for COVID-19.

Reflecting on the last six months, Lenton noted the University’s highlights including the conclusion of the University’s 10-year plan, the completion of the University Academic Plan (UAP) 2015-2020 and the work on a new five-year UAP that will take the University to 2025. She encouraged the community to read the annual President’s Report, which recognizes institutional accomplishments and positive change led by the University over the 2019-2020 academic year.

The floor opened to questions from the community and kicked off with a query on how students studying from abroad will continue to participate in the winter semester. Lenton offered assurance that winter would continue in the same manner as fall. The 150 courses requiring an in-person component will reflect that requirement in the course notes.

It was also noted that while York is now permitted to welcome international students to campus, domestic students will have to wait for travel abroad for educational opportunities. However, Fernandez pointed out there are opportunities with an international focus available through York’s Globally Networked Learning programs.

Lisa Philipps

Students also voiced concern with lectures being posted too late, lectures running past the allotted time frame, and the lack of focused group work. Philipps said while the University acknowledges the impressive efforts by faculty to pivot to online instruction, she recognizes there is still room for improvement and would ensure these concerns are forwarded to the deans.

While the learning experience may not be the same, Lenton said “our colleagues are ensuring students still have the same student learning outcomes” and that “there’s a continual improvement as we go along.” Lenton further noted the senior leadership team aims to soon host a virtual town hall specifically for students.

One student asked about the development of scholarship fund supporting Black students. O’Hagan said there have been new donations specifically earmarked to support Black students, and Lenton said work has begun on developing an action plan.

Staff inquired about what work-from-home policies York may consider in a post-pandemic scenario. Lenton acknowledged the need to consider flexible work arrangements and said the University plans to continue discussions with management and unions on how to move forward. Other staff were curious to know if staff, like faculty, would be offered early retirement incentives. McAulay said there have been discussions on developing a program, and conversations would continue.

Concerns about potential staff layoffs were addressed as well. Lenton said the University’s approach has been to talk with unions and managers, and to try to get input from colleagues about challenges they face and to try to be responsive to those issues.

Many questions were specifically related to the pandemic and outlined concerns with ventilation on campus and with individuals not complying with the University’s mask and face covering protocol. McAulay said the University has implemented measures to improve ventilation on campus, including overriding settings to bring in more fresh air, filtration material being upgraded to a higher quality filter and air filters changes with increased frequency. (For more details on initiatives undertaken to ensure clean air in buildings at York, visit facilities.info.yorku.ca/maintenance). As for the face coverings, Lenton said she would take concerns to the University’s Emergency Operations Committee and look to them for guidance on how to follow up on complaints of non-compliance.

One community member asked senior leadership to describe what role York University has played in helping the community during the pandemic. Philipps pointed to the five faculty members recognized with provincial awards for their COVID-19 research.

Asif described several of the research projects undertaken by York’s researchers, including statistical modelling that is now used by the province to predict emerging trends, and also recounted York’s contributions of PPE, chemicals and other equipment to the province.

“York University has also awarded $300,000 in research grants to advance 20 new research projects ranging from the impact of COVID-19 on child protection investigations, to how textiles and non-woven materials could be modified to boost protection offered by cloth-based personal protective equipment (PPE), virus through microdroplets and potential implications for ventilation system design, as well as the role that variations in the genomic sequences of the virus play in infection and disease,” Asif added.

Commenting on the University’s new brand, one individual asked how the York community shows compelling evidence that York is a community of changemakers and produces graduates who are changemakers.

Lenton highlighted the recent Times Higher Education (THE) rankings, that placed York University 33rd out of 767 competing Universities when measured against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The new, upcoming interactive UAP website, said Philipps, will also catalogue stories of positive change led by York, similar to the YU Better Together website developed to highlight York’s positive contributions during the pandemic. O’Hagan pointed to the Alumni and Friends page, where there are stories that showcase alumni contributions to creating positive change.

In closing, Lenton thanked community members for their questions, and noted that senior leadership would aim to answer any questions not addressed during the town hall.

To watch the recorded version of this Virtual Town Hall, visit conversations.info.yorku.ca/first-page/webcast.

Call for nominations: Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award

Students at York University
Featured image

Do you know an outstanding undergraduate or graduate student who has made significant contributions to the York community? Why not nominate that student for a Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award?

The Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award recognizes students whose leadership has contributed to the growth, development and vitality of York University. Established in 2012, this award is named after Robert J. Tiffin, who served as York University’s vice-president, students for nine years during his tenure. Through his strong leadership, dedication and integrity, Tiffin transformed his operation into one of the most professional student service organizations in the country, serving one of Canada’s largest student populations.

“The focus is on trying to identify and recognize those students who have taken leadership roles in the community,” Tiffin said. “The skills that students develop in the classroom … are enhanced through their participation outside of the classroom, by contributing to the community. A lot of the competencies that we look for, like leadership, are really honed by becoming involved and becoming engaged in providing support for fellow students.”

All members of the University community (students, faculty, staff and alumni) are encouraged to submit nominations for this award. Nominees must be currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students who exhibit leadership, dedication, integrity, enthusiasm and the pursuit of excellence through their endeavours. Selection will be based on leadership and/or involvement in the York community and outstanding academic achievement. Recipients will be honoured at an award reception and have their name added to the awards display in the Vari Hall Rotunda. They will also receive a certificate and have the award noted on their transcript.

Nomination packages must include:

  • a letter of recommendation from a primary nominator (maximum of 500 words);
  • a statement of support from a secondary nominator representing one nominating constituency (York University students, staff, faculty or alumni) not represented by the primary nominator (maximum of 350 words);
  • a candidate statement that describes how co-curricular involvement at York University has affected their university experience and helped to enhance the quality of life on campus (maximum of 500 words; include the student number at the top of the page); and
  • a current resumé/CV, including detailed descriptions of involvement at the University.

The nomination package deadline is Friday, Feb. 28. Submissions must be completed online by clicking here.

For any questions related to the Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award, please email the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students at vpstudents@yorku.ca or visit the website for more information about the award here.