TORONTO, April 24, 2015 /CNW/ - Students at the University of Toronto are applauding an amendment to the University of Toronto Act that will allow international students and other non-citizens to represent their peers on the University of Toronto's highest decision-making body. The amendment, which will remove citizenship requirements for members of Governing Council, was tabled in the Ontario Legislature yesterday. International students, refugees and permanent residents are currently barred from seeking election to represent their peers. Several students who tried to seek election in 2015 were turned away due to their citizenship status. This change will allow all students at the University of Toronto to participate in elections and represent the diverse community of the University.
This comes as a response to a campaign from the University of Toronto Students' Union and the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students, who have long argued for the right to equal participation in the decision-making processes that directly impact the lives of students.
"This amendment is very exciting for international students like myself," says Cameron Wathey, Vice-President Internal & Services of the University of Toronto Students' Union (UTSU). "The students' unions had been pushing the university for years to make this change so it's great to see that our activism bore real gains for students."
The University of Toronto is one of the only universities in Canada to have a citizenship requirement for their highest decision-making body. Ryerson University, McMaster University, Nipissing University, University of Wilfrid Laurier and University of Western Ontario still have either citizenship or permanent resident status requirements.
"This is fundamentally an equity issue," says Susan Froom, Vice-President External of the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students (APUS), "International students, who are such a vibrant part of our community, will now have a say in their education. I hope that this change will also encourage students in the remaining five universities to also push their administrations to remove status requirements for their respective councils."
The University of Toronto Students' Union represents over 50,000 undergraduate students at the University of Toronto.
The Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students at the University of Toronto represents over 5,000 undergraduate students at the University of Toronto.
SOURCE University of Toronto Students' Union
For further information: Cameron Wathey, University of Toronto Students' Union Vice-President Internal: 647-525-8384 or firstname.lastname@example.org or; Susan Froom, Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students Vice-President External: email@example.com