The first of this year’s monthly town hall meetings took place last Tuesday between students, interim principal Ulrich Krull, and the administration.
Krull talked about possibilities for co-op related programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels at UTM.
“One of the aspects was to push the sense that students would like more of this type of hands-on implementation of their academic knowledge,” said Krull. He also explained that the forensic science program offers hands-on experiential learning for its students, and that other programs should do the same.
“The question has been posed whether co-op at the undergraduate level is possible, and it is. It is something that is going to be phased in likely as a pilot. It’s going to take time,” Krull also said, adding that the professional graduate programs are operating with a co-op style education.
According to Krull, the new second phase of the North Building project, worth around $120 million, is ongoing. The building will be an office space for social sciences and humanities, will offer classroom and research space, and should be able to accommodate about 18,000 students.
“What that means for this campus, when this opens in August 2018, is we will for the first time in probably two decades have enough space to accommodate people,” said Krull.
He stated that the student population has reached 15,000 this year. He explained that over the next five to six years, there will be 38 new hires to bring a balance to the student-faculty ratio.
Krull also mentioned that multi-user and single-user all-gender washrooms have been spread across campus, including Deerfield, CCT Building, the RAWC, and the Student Centre.
“More [all-gender washrooms] will be put in, and future planning will always include all-gender washrooms as we move forward,” Krull said.
Students were also able to direct their questions and concerns to the administration.
UTMSU’s VP equity, Maleeha Baig, raised concern over the lack of adequate multi-faith prayer space on campus, saying that there has been vandalism in one of the prayer rooms.
She also expressed her disappointment over the lack of campus police investigations on such cases.
“Even though we knew which students had done this, campus police didn’t go forward or do any investigation in terms of this,” said Baig.
“The office of the dean is committed to increasing training and education for faculty, staff, and students around equity and diversity,” stated UTM’s vice-principal, academic and dean, Amrita Daniere.
Another second-year student, who did not provide his name in the Town Hall, reported that he saw an incident that occurred on campus on the same day of the town hall: “A lot of ambulances came to the school. Looks like some girl got hurt,” the student said. He expressed overall concern regarding students’ physical and mental health.
“[Incidents] like this can be avoided if the school cared about students on an individual basis,” the student continued.
Krull stated that he had not been informed about the incident yet, and could not offer comments on the matter at that time.
An undergraduate psychology student, who also did not provide their name, raised an issue over the lack of debates and forums in his program. Krull suggested that such matters are best directed towards departmental representatives.
Another academic concern brought up was over the credit/no credit option and its limitations, which Krull responded to by saying that he will report back on the issue in next month’s meeting.
Town hall meetings are held every month, with the exception of December and April.