Terms of reference of the Task Force on Student Life, Learning & Community
Since its founding, York University has been committed to diversity, social justice and challenging the status quo, as exemplified by our motto: "The way must be tried". York has always celebrated the diversity of the community and, while the free exchange of ideas has at times been lively and even heated, it has generally been conducted in an atmosphere of civility and respect for differing opinions. Yet recent events on campus have raised serious concerns over whether our most cherished values and commitments are being undermined by excessive conflict, intolerance and even intimidation.
As an institution of higher learning committed to the free exchange of ideas, a university has a responsibility to ensure that all members of the community can pursue their academic activities in an environment free of intolerance, harassment or intimidation. Given the recent events and concerns that have emerged within the York community, the president has created a Task Force on Student Life, Learning & Community, chaired by the provost-designate, to examine the current learning environment for students at York.
The task force will consult broadly with the community, with a view to developing principled recommendations that reflect this University's unwavering commitment to fundamental values of free expression, free inquiry and respect for genuine diversity of thought and opinion.
The task force will examine the broad spectrum of student life, the learning environment, and student community at York University, with special attention to the relationships between and among students, as well as between students and other parts of the community. Without limiting this mandate, the task force will review in particular the following matters:
- Are the University's current policies and practices adequate to ensure that the free exchange of ideas can occur in an environment free of discrimination, harassment or intimidation?
- Are there measures that can and should be undertaken to enhance the learning environment for students at York, both inside and outside of the classroom?
- How do we provide opportunities for students to be intellectually challenged, exposed to provocative issues and discussions, and encouraged to examine their beliefs and decisions?
- Are the University's current policies and practices regarding the use of community space by individuals and groups appropriate?; and
- How should the University respond to incidents or behaviours that do not meet the community's expectations with respect to tolerance of and respect for diversity of views of members of the York community?
Office of the VP Students
Location: N303, Bennett Centre for Student Services