47 Student Day of Action

PDAD&C #47, 2004-05


To: Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs
From: Vivek Goel, Vice-President and Provost
Date: January 31, 2005
Re:  Student Day of Action


On February 3, 2005, a student day of action has been planned in support of the post-secondary education system. The campaign has been organized by a large number of organizations and groups concerned about the future of public higher education in Canada. While the campaign has many goals and supports many policies, the central message is for strong public funding for high quality, accessible post-secondary education. The University of Toronto fully supports this message.

Although the organizers hope to achieve some other specific objectives which differ from those supported by the University and this administration, it is important to support our students’ freedom of speech and their right to engage in the public discourse on the future of higher education in Ontario.

We have been asked by many campus groups to ask faculty members to try to accommodate students who are unable to meet their academic obligations on February 3 as a result of their participation in the day of action. We would request that faculty members not penalize students for non-attendance at classes in the afternoon of that day and, where possible, to permit students the opportunity to complete an assignment or test at another time if the student's participation in the campaign necessitates this. The decision to grant dispensation to students must remain in the judgment of individual faculty members. Furthermore, we recognize that compelling academic considerations may well make dispensation impossible. We simply ask that faculty members be guided by the request to give broad campus support for the fundamental goal of the day of action: stronger public funding for higher education.

In asking for this consideration, the University is not endorsing the campaign or its particular demands and positions. We are simply requesting that students have the opportunity to participate if they wish.
I would be grateful if you would circulate this memorandum to faculty members in your division.