Skip to main content
Navi Mental Health Wayfinder

Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies (CRCSS)

Comments are closed.

CRCSS Overview

A dispute resolution process, including a review or appeal of disputes can assist in maintaining the elements of openness, accessibility, and democracy within an organization. Part of openness, accessibility, and democracy is to have good internal processes that deal effectively and fairly with disputes and complaints, and to ensure that these are well understood and open in a fair and reasonable way to all who are affected.

On occasion, a dispute may not be resolved internally and a process of review or appeal that goes beyond the specific student society may be required for resolution to be achieved. Therefore, there is a requirement for a University-wide complaint and resolution process applicable to student societies: the University Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies (CRCSS).

Policy on Open, Accessible and Democratic Autonomous Student Organizations

The University affirms the value of autonomous student organizations operating independently and without interference from the University in their day-to-day operations. However, autonomy must be exercised in a manner that is compliant with the law and University policy. Further, all student organizations must conduct themselves in an open, accessible, and democratic manner.

Policy on Open, Accessible and Democratic Autonomous Student Organizations

CRCSS Complaint Procedures

For information about lodging a complaint and CRCSS procedures, please refer to the Complaints about Student Societies section of the Student Complaints page.

CRCSS Decisions

Below are the decisions made by the Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies (CRCSS).  For each decision, a panel of students was selected to review the complaint. In addition to those listed below, there have been several complaints that have been managed by their respective student societies prior to the review by the panel. Complaints pertaining to recognized student groups are not within the purview of the CRCSS and are forwarded to the appropriate Student Affairs/Student Life office for follow-up.

As per the Policy on Open, Accessible, Democratic Autonomous Student Organizations, “the CRCSS Panel has the power, in its discretion, to determine that no further action is required; to pursue informal resolution among the parties; to issue a reprimand where it determines that a Student Society has not operated in an open, accessible and democratic fashion or followed its constitution; to recommend to a society that changes to its by-laws, constitution, or operational processes be made; to recommend that actions be taken by the Student Society to enhance openness, accessibility and democratic operation; and/or to recommend to the Vice-President and Provost that fees be withheld pursuant to the Policy for Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees. The authority to withhold fees remains the Vice-President and Provost’s.”

The decisions made by the CRCSS are shared with the Vice-President and Provost, and the appropriate University office(s) for follow-up, if required.

  • Complaint against the University of Toronto Mississauga Students Union (UTMSU)

    A candidate for a UTMSU executive position was assessed demerit points based on an anonymous complaint and disqualified from the election. The candidate was not provided an opportunity to speak to the Election and Referenda Committee to appeal the decision. Additionally, it was alleged that the demerit points lead to the candidate’s ineligibility to receive any reimbursement for campaign expenses.

    The Panel recommended:

    1. That the UTMSU participate in the CRCSS process.
    2. That the UTMSU undertake a review of its Elections Procedures Code, and in particular the processes regarding appeals, to provide the candidate with the maximum opportunity to address the complaint.
    3. That UTMSU apologize to the candidate for its handling of the matter.
    4. That election expense reimbursements are accompanied by documentation that clearly shows, by candidate, the percentage of the total votes and the total amount reimbursed.
  • Complaint against the Scarborough College Athletic Association (SCAA)

    Two candidates were assessed demerit points for allegedly campaigning in a restricted zone.  The demerit points resulted in the candidates’ disqualification from the election. Additionally, the complaint reported an inability for voters to vote for specific positions, which was not in compliance with the SCAA by-laws.

    The Panel recommended:

    1. The SCAA review the CRO’s response to the allegations of campaigning in residence based on the information provided in this document. Furthermore, the SCAA shall meet with the complainants to discuss the review and consider a resolution. Such a resolution may include an apology and/or provide an opportunity for the disqualified candidates to be involved in an aspect of the organization, such as reviewing the constitution and election procedures noted below.
    2. The SCAA put in place clear rules pertaining to campaigning in their constitution or creates an Elections Procedure Code. The CRO shall ensure that all candidates are provided with a full package of information pertaining to the campaigning rules and the consequences of non-compliance prior to the start of the campaigning period.
    3. The SCAA review and update its constitution with respect to the Men’s and Women’s Representative positions and the associated voting process.
    4. For future elections, the SCAA shall utilize a CRO who is arms-length from the organization.
  • Complaint against the University of Toronto Mississauga Students Union (UTMSU)

    The complaint alleges that the CRO did not assign the appropriate number of demerit points to candidates of a slate for “campaigning in an unauthorized area”. The complainant was unable to attend the Election and Referenda Committee (EARC) meeting where the matter was discussed and was not made aware of a secondary appeal process.

    The Panel recommended:

    1. Complainants, should they wish to attend the EARC, should be accommodated within reason.
    2. The notice of the EARC meeting should include the names of the members participating.
    3. Any decision by the CRO, or the EARC, should include information regarding the appeal process.
    4. The UTMSU should ensure that its by-laws and codes are followed. In this case, there is no evidence to indicate the ratified results of the election were made available.
  • Complaint against the University of Toronto Mississauga Athletic Council (UTMAC)

    The complaint alleged that there were issues of non-compliance with UTMAC’s by-laws and constitution regarding election procedures that resulted in of several members of one slate being disqualified from the election. It was further alleged that one member of the opposing slate was not eligible to run.

    The Panel recommended:

    1. UTMAC review and revise its constitution and by-laws. The Student Experience Office will be able to assist. The revised constitution and by-laws will be approved at a general meeting of the society’s membership (i.e., an AGM).
    2. The panel appreciates the time and effort that the candidates and the Election Committee invested; however, to ensure a fair and transparent election, the panel recommends the election be re-held. Given the number of student members decreases over the summer, the re-election may need to wait until the fall term.
    3. An arms-length CRO and DRO are hired, as per the Policy [on Open, Accessible, Democratic Autonomous Student Organizations].
    4. UTMAC should ensure that its by-laws are followed.


    Complaint against University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU)

    The complaint alleged that the UTGSU’s BDS Committee (now Caucus) violates the UTGSU’s Anti-Discrimination Policy and University of Toronto policies that prohibit discrimination.

    The Panel Recommended:

    1. That UTGSU should revise Policy G.5.7 (Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions (BDS) Caucus) so that it does not promote BDS actions based on nationality, and so that it is fully aligned with the UTGSU’s own Bylaws and Policies. Any revisions to Policy G.5.7 must allow for all members of UTGSU to participate in the Caucus. This should be done within one year from the date of the CRCSS decision.
    2. That UTGSU should convert the BDS Caucus fee into a designated fee that is refundable.
    3. That UTGSU should review and revise Policy i13: Anti-Discrimination Policy to align with the Ontario Human Rights Code and develop and implement a mechanism for addressing concerns raised under this policy.
    4. That UTGSU should establish a framework to determine how motions put forward to UTGSU governance bodies are reviewed in order to ensure compliance with their Bylaws and Policies.
    5. That UTGSU should, as part of their appeal process, confirm to the appellant when a complaint has been exhausted. The UTGSU should provide clear information about their appeals process and ensure that there is a definitive end to the process.

    Following the release of the decision, the CRCSS panel received several submissions from UTSGU and the Complainant. Based on their review of these materials, the Panel determined that UTGSU had not satisfactorily responded to their recommendations.  As a result, the Panel forwarded their recommendations to the Provost for consideration.

    On March 4, 2022, the Provost informed UTGSU of her decision to withhold from the fees of UTGSU an amount that is equivalent to the BDS portion of the UTGSU society fee until such time as UTGSU complies with its obligations under University policies.


    Complaint against University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU)

    The complaint alleged that an email circulated among graduate students on the final day of the April 2020 spring election period had a direct negative impact on the election results.  They also contend that the candidates endorsed in the email engaged in “slate-like behaviour” that constitutes a violation of UTGSU Election Policies.

    The matter was brought before the UTGSU Election and Referenda Committee (ERC) who rejected the appeal.  The complainant alleged that a member of the ERC previously submitted a formal complaint against one of the complainants – but did not declare a conflict of interest.

    The Panel Recommended:

    1. UTGSU should review its polices related to communications, listservs and data privacy, ensure that current policies are being followed, and consider additional controls (e.g., consolidating access to listservs and emails with one or two people rather than allowing access to individual Caucus or Committee Chairs).
    2. The membership of the Elections and Referenda Committee (ERC) should be shared with candidates in advance of the election. Candidates should have an opportunity to comment on membership and raise any concerns.  The ERC should have a clearly articulated process for addressing potential conflicts of interest.
    3. Clarify the definition of a “group or party affiliation” within the Elections and Referenda Policy and the behaviours that would constitute campaigning as a group (or slate).
    4. UTGSU should establish an impartial elections board.