U of T's Student Unions Take Flat Fees to the Courts
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U of T’s Student Unions Take Flat Fees to the Courts

Two weeks after the University of Toronto got one step closer to passing a contentious proposal that would force many new students to pay a flat fee regardless of the number of courses they were actually enrolled in, the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) and the Arts and Sciences Students’ Union (ASSU) have—according to a press release sent out by them this morning—”filed an urgent application asking the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to stop a flat fee proposal from moving ahead.”
According to the release, “the application…argues that the vote held at a recent meeting of the Faculty of Arts & Science Council (‘FASC’) to impose a flat fee tuition on incoming full-time students in the Faculty was conducted improperly and is therefore invalid. The application is also supported by an affidavit from a faculty member who is a voting member of FASC.”
The main contention, again according to the release, is that “at the last minute, the University introduced a revised proposal for consideration at the meeting”—a revised proposal presented in the face of “students, faculty, and community members…identif[ying] numerous flaws with the idea of setting a flat fee for full-time students” and, overall, “significant opposition to the proposal.” The proposal that passed on April 6 was one that would have more slowly phased in the flat fee, and the filed legal application “argue[s] that the introduction of the revised proposal did not follow the proper procedure required by FASC’s Constitution and By-Laws.”
U of T is keeping mum about the impending legal contest; Robert Steiner, Assistant Vice-President of Strategic Communications for the University (who we last spoke to in regards to a much more bizarre fight over student fees) told Torontoist that “we won’t say anything on a matter that is before the courts….there’s nothing for us to say about the legal filing or the substantive matters therein.”
According to ASSU President Colum Grove-White, who spoke with Torontoist via email this morning, an injunction “would stop the flat fee from continuing down the governance cycle”; the passed proposal was to be discussed at an upcoming Business Board meeting, and, ultimately, decided on by the school’s Governing Council towards the end of May. “I think we have some fairly convincing legal and procedural arguments that the…meeting on April 6 did not follow its own by-laws and constitution,” Grove-White says. “We would not have filed this if we did not think we had a good shot at winning.”
David Topping is a U of T student (who the flat fee proposal, if implemented, wouldn’t affect).