Rights & Responsibilities
The University of Toronto offers an abundance of resources to support its students and to ensure that an environment conducive to learning continues to flourish. Of course, as with any large community, the University has rules and policies to guide students and to help them make the most of the opportunities offered to them. The information and links below outline many of the expectations the University has for its students.
- Code of Student Conduct
The University of Toronto assumes no general responsibility for the moral and social behaviour of its students. There are cases, however, in which the University’s interest is unique and not adequately recognized by the wider justice system. For such instances, the University has its own set of internal offences and procedures – called the Code of Student Conduct (PDF) .
- Freedom of Speech
The right to free speech is integral to the University’s mission as an institution devoted to the pursuit of truth, advancement of learning and dissemination of knowledge. It is only when the freedoms of others are jeopardized that the University places any limits on what can be said. The important exceptions to the right of free speech – such as threats, disruption or harassment – are described below, but in general, students are encouraged to express their opinions and to contribute to the discussions and debates that characterize campus life. Defined in the University’s Statement on Freedom of Speech (PDF), the right to free speech includes the right to examine, question, investigate, speculate and comment on any issue, as well as the right to criticize the University, to form groups and the right of such groups to express themselves.
Students have the right to peacefully protest any University activity. However, that right does not extend to the point of disruption of an activity or to the point where a member of the University’s freedom of speech is jeopardized. For example, picketing outside a classroom may be acceptable. Shouting or otherwise preventing a lecture from taking place is not. Disruption is an offence under the University’s Code of Student Conduct (PDF) and charges are dealt with through its procedures.
There are several policy documents that confirm the University’s commitment to acting against discrimination. The Statement on Human Rights (PDF ) clearly states that the University "acts within its purview to prevent or remedy discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, marital status, family status, receipt of public assistance or record of offence." Though you are, for the most part, free to express your opinions, no matter how controversial, there is a point at which the right to free speech is limited. You are not entitled to target individuals with vexatious comments based on human rights grounds. If you do so, and your conduct is known to be unwelcome, this is defined as "discriminatory harassment" and is an offence under the University’s Code of Student Conduct (PDF).
- Student Complaint Process for Prohibited Discrimination (Details on how to make a complaint)
The University of Toronto’s Statement on Prohibited Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment states “The University aspires to achieve an environment free of prohibited discrimination and harassment and to ensure respect for the core values of freedom of speech, academic freedom and freedom of research”. This Statement also outlines the responsibilities of the University community members and the process for complaints. The Prohibited Discrimination Student Complaint Flow Chart has been developed specifically for student providing a process for concerns or complaints under the statement.
- Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is defined in the Policy and Procedures: Sexual Harassment (PDF). There are two general forms. The first involves an abuse of power – a sexual advance or solicitation used to some end, either academic or employment-related. The second involves the creation of an "intimidating, hostile or offensive environment" by focusing, either verbally or physically (or through the use of technology), on a person’s sex or sexual orientation. This type of harassment is similar to discriminatory harassment, as described above and defined in the Code of Student Conduct (PDF), but is dealt with through the distinct Policy and Procedures: Sexual Harassment when it concerns sex or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment can happen to both men and women. Complaints of sexual harassment are heard initially by the Sexual Harassment Officer and are often resolved through informal mechanisms like mediation. Some cases, however, are resolved only through a hearing.
- Online Harassment
Electronic communication that is unwanted and that is persistent,repeated, abusive, obscene or otherwise unwelcome may be harassment and may be actionable under University policy. The E-nough! website ( www.enough.utoronto.ca ) provides advice on when and how to take action against electronic harassment.
For students of legal drinking age, alcohol use is, primarily, your own responsibility. Under the Campus Alcohol Policy (PDF), the University will intervene when alcohol is used illegally or when its abuse leads to conduct that endangers the individual involved or others, or that results in damage to the property of the University, disrupts its activities or interferes with the rights of other persons.
- Use of Technology
Students using any University information technology – whether it be a computer lab or an email account provided by the University – are expected to follow the guidelines set out by the department that granted those privileges. The Guidelines for the Appropriate Use of Information and Communication Technology prohibit harassment as well as the propagation of hate literature. The source of such material is easily traced and your privileges will be revoked if you violate the guidelines. Furthermore, you can face charges under other University policies as a result of material distributed through University information technology.
Do not let others use your email and computer access account; you are responsible for whatever material is distributed or activity is conducted through your account.
- Cheating and Plagiarism
Cheating and plagiarism are taken very seriously at the University. Academic offences are treated as a threat to the integrity of the institution and the penalties can be severe. These offences are outlined in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters (PDF).
using unauthorized aids on an exam or test
looking at someone else’s answers during an exam or test
falsifying documents or grades
making up sources/facts for an essay or report
submitting the same work in more than one course (without permission)
submitting another’s work as your own
Sanctions imposed for academic offences vary according to the severity of the offence as well as other factors, but can include resubmission of the piece of work (for minor offences), a mark of zero for the piece of work or the entire course, or, in severe cases, suspension or expulsion.
You can expect some uniformity in grading practices across courses. Instructors must meet minimum requirements in setting out the grading scheme for evaluating your work. These requirements are detailed in (1) The Grading Practices Policy , which applies to all programs and sets out the grading rules, and (2) the Grading Procedures for your division (i.e., your faculty) --please visit your faculty's website. Students may appeal a grade based on an instructor’s failure to meet the requirements of the Grading Practices Policy. However, in most cases the matter can be corrected by the instructor before an appeal is necessary. Always try to speak to your instructor before reporting an apparent violation of the Grading Practices Policy to the instructor’s department.
Your Official Record
Your record contains not only your registration and enrolment information but also your grades, the basis for your admission to your program, the results of any petitions and any letters of reference submitted on your behalf. The contents of this record, with the exception of any letters of reference that were written with the understanding that they remain confidential, are open to you through a request to your college or faculty registrar. The University protects your privacy in accordance with the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will not release information from your record to persons outside the University without your consent. Details on access to student records for both students and others are contained in the Guidelines Concerning Access to Official Student Academic Records (PDF), available on the Governing Council website.
Updating Your Information and Staying in TouchThe University needs to send you important notices throughout the academic year. It is your responsibility to make sure that we have your upto-date contact information. To ensure that we can reach you, you need to:
establish a University-issued email account (an address that ends with @utoronto.ca)
maintain updated contact information (including your utoronto email address) in ROSI
retrieve and read all emails sent to you from U of T on a consistent and timely basis
- Name and Gender Changes
You can change your name and/or gender on your academic record, class lists and ROSI by writing a request letter to your college or faculty registrar or the registrar of the School of Graduate Studies. It’s up to you whether you disclose why you are making this change, but be sure to provide your student ID number and deliver the letter of request to your registrar’s office in person.
- Campus Organizations
In the normal course of events, the University does not monitor or review the activities of student societies and recognized groups. The Office of Student Life (www.studentlife.utoronto.ca) will, however, investigate complaints or charges that an organization has acted in a manner that is inconsistent with its constitution or with other requirements. Complaints concerning campus organizations should always be made first to the organization itself. If the organization fails to respond to your complaint, or if you feel that the group has not adequately addressed your concerns, you may wish to contact the Office of Student Life.
Library ConductThe Library Conduct Regulations prohibit mutilation of library materials by “marking, underlining, removing pages or portions of pages, removing binding or staples, removing security devices, tampering electronically, or in any other way damaging or defacing library materials.” They also prohibit the deliberate misfiling of materials to prevent others from using them, as well as eating and drinking in the library. Your library privileges can be revoked if you violate these rules and you could also face a charge under the Code of Student Conduct.
Copyright in coursesThe unauthorized use of any form of device to audiotape, photograph, video-record or otherwise reproduce lectures, course notes or teaching materials provided by instructors is covered by the Canadian Copyright Act and is prohibited. You must obtain prior written consent to such recording. In the case of private use by students with disabilities, the instructor’s consent must not be unreasonably withheld. Read the Guidelines on Appropriate Use of Information and Communication Technology.
Student ComplaintsThe University Ombudsperson (www.utoronto.ca/ombudsperson) investigates complaints, offers assistance and can recommend changes in academic or administrative procedures. All matters are handled in strictest confidence and with complete impartiality.
Accommodations for Religious ObservancesIt is the policy of the University of Toronto to arrange reasonable accommodation of the needs of students who observe religious holy days other than those already accommodated by ordinary scheduling and statutory holidays. Please note that students have the responsibility to alert members of the teaching staff in a timely fashion to upcoming religious observances and anticipated absences.
- For information on the University's expectations concerning the accommodation of religious observances for students including the Policy on Scheduling of Classes and Examinations and Other Accommodations for Religious Observances and examples of related dates on which students may be excused from classes or examinations.