The UTM Campus Affairs Committee meeting, held last Monday, discussed the intent to create a new building and town house for residence students, new upcoming food service developments, and planned out the price increase for next year’s annual parking fees.

According to Chad Nuttal, the director of UTM’s Student Housing and Residence Life, there’s a plan for a new building for first-year residence students around OPH and a new town house for upper-year students.

First-year students at UTM are currently placed in town houses, while upper-year students live in buildings. Nuttal explained that the idea to work on new constructions came as a result of how most universities operate the opposite way of UTM’s current residence planning.

The laundry services will also experience upgrades for residence students, as they will be able to check the status of their laundry online.

Another item discussed at the meeting was the meal plans on campus. Vicky Jezierski, UTM’s director of hospitality and retail services, stated that UTM stands at number five among nine other universities, with York, McMaster, Guelph, and Ryerson being ranked higher than UTM.

Jezierski stated that York University’s meal plan is $1,000 less than UTM, but according to her, with the lower money, students usually finish their plan by November, and go back to buy a new one again from the university.

UTM’s meal plan structure will undergo changes from seven plans to four plans, since a “lower commitment means significant increase in amount of carryover,” according to the meeting’s agenda.

Jezierski also talked about future food service development plans on campus, including a “Starbucks 10-year Facelift” in 2017. In 2018, the Davis Permanent Food Court is expected to open, as well as the North Building Phase II.

As for the parking services, the annual reserved, premium unreserved, and unreserved permit prices are expected to increase by three percent the next academic year. The “pay and display” prices, including the daily maximum rate, will experience no increases.

Compared with U of T’s two other campuses, and York and McMaster universities, St. George’s unreserved parking rates are $1,440, whereas York’s are $1,098.36, and UTM’s are $728.34. The “most expensive” reserved parking rates are at St. George, with $3,300. UTM places number four, with $1,020.54 for reserved parking, and the Scarborough campus rates are $971.93.

Another item on the agenda was the number of international students admitted to UTM. Amrita Daniere, UTM’s vice-principal academic and dean, stated that 61 to 66 percent of international students come from China.

UTM’s student-to-faculty ratio was considered the highest across all U of T campuses, with a 35:7 ratio in fall 2015.

According to Daniere, UTM will aim to reduce the student-to-faculty ratio, and will also be looking into hiring 10 percent more faculty.

Faculty recruitment has gone from 68 percent in 2014-15, to 88 percent in 2015-16. The target is to conduct 38 searches next year and 32 in 2017-18. Deniere stated that due to search limitations, time, and money, UTM doesn’t have the capacity to do more than what it is currently doing in terms of searching for new hires.

The next Campus Affairs Committee meeting is scheduled for January 11.

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