Gertler talks election, UTS, and Boundless campaign

Governing Council met on Thursday to hear from Gertler and the university ombudsperson

The U of T Governing Council met on Thursday to discuss federal election results, fundraising campaign goals, and the university ombudsperson’s report, among other items.

U of T president Meric Gertler began his report on Canada’s 42nd federal election, stating that 14 GTA MPs are U of T alumni, with 28 U of T alumni elected on October 19.

Gertler also mentioned Trudeau’s pre-election pledges to increase funding for the arts and said that he would keep a close watch on it.

“Our Boundless campaign has raised, as of this week, $1.85 billion towards the $2 billion system, more than six months ahead of schedule. This comes as a result of the generosity of more than 90 thousand unit donors, and we have successfully engaged 9,200 volunteers in the campaign,” Gertler reported.

According to Gertler, the previous fiscal year shows the largest fundraising result in the history of the university, rising up to $248 million.

“Our goal now is to solidify our grasp on this level of performance and to make it our new baseline. Before the campaign, our baseline was more like a hundred million; now it has doubled that,” Gertler said. “There is still a lot of work to do; we have many divisional priorities and academic goals still to be funded, so we are not planning to take our eyes off the ball anytime soon.”

Gertler also addressed the issue between U of T and the University of Toronto Schools, a high school affiliated with U of T, where U of T requested UTS to relocate by 2021. After engaging in negotiations for the last two years, it has now been announced, according to Gertler, that “U of T will allow UTS to stay on their current site for at least 50 years”.

Regarding queries about the new federal government’s pledge for infrastructure funding and possibly reconstructing U of T’s building to increase energy efficiency and allow access to mobility-challenged students, the president promised to take actions and make progress in the near future.

Delivering the university ombudsperson report for the last time was Professor Joan Foley, the current university ombudsperson, who will be replaced by Professor Ellen Hodnett.

Regarding motions for Governing Council approval, both the motions for the capital projects relating to St. George’s University College and Croft Chapter House, along with the renovations and expansions to a wing at the New Highland Hall at the University of Toronto Scarborough, received unanimous votes and were approved by the council.

The next Governing Council meeting is scheduled on December 15 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

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